What is your role within the Digital Dairy Chain Team?
My role is Programme Associate for the STEM Engagement programme, led by SmartSTEMs. The dairy industry typically struggles to attract young, ambitious talent, mainly due to lack of awareness and understanding of what the sector has to offer. My role is to engage with 10-14 year olds throughout Dumfries & Galloway and Ayrshire, highlighting the amazing STEM jobs available in dairying.
Can you explain what the STEM Engagement programme is?
The STEM Engagement programme takes many shapes and forms. We deliver a blend of in-school face to face events and virtual events where we join a class or school online. We also host large scale events on University campuses where the local primary or secondary school communities can attend, as well as on-site STEM days held at farms or dairy processing facilities. The common factor in these events is that they are interactive, fun, informative and inclusive.
Who can participate?
The short answer is anyone! We are always actively looking for as many people as possible from the dairy industry to get involved with our events and engagements. We are very much on the lookout for younger STEM professionals in particular to help showcase varied the career paths and experiences. Such professionals can really help the young people we engage with see that there is no ‘wrong path’ and a successful STEM career, particularly in dairy, is well within their reach.
What’s been your favourite experience so far?
My favourite experience so far has been bringing young people into a farm setting to learn about STEM and how this relates to the milk that appears in their cereal. It has been such a rewarding experience to see the students understand how hard our dairy farmers work to ensure we have THE best and safest dairy produce.
What is your main message for those considering a career in the dairy industry?
The dairy industry is something really close to my heart. My father started off in dairy as forklift driver in his late teens and retired recently holding the position of Vice President of Cheese Operations UK. I spent almost a decade with Arla Foods, where I started as an end-of-line packer and was lucky enough to be selected for an internal program which allowed me to study dairy science. This is an industry that rewards hard workers and a positive attitude can open many doors.
Working in the dairy sector can be incredibly rewarding, fast paced and you’ll often find yourself at the forefront of technological changes in agriculture, food science and food processing. Needless to say, with STEM at the front and centre!
If you’re interested in getting involved with our STEM Engagement activities or would like to find out more please email: email@example.com.