I was in the Fonterra Graduate Technical Programme (FGTP) in 2006 located in Te Rapa (Powders & Cream products), Hautapu (Protein & Cheese), Palmerston North, and Takanini. During the programme, I learnt about the industry as a whole, as well as the manufacturing processes.
Having completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours (1st class) degree from the University of Auckland majoring in Food Science, the FGTP was like no other… when else would you get to stand inside a milk powder drier?
The aspects of the FGTP that attracted me the most were meeting new people and the opportunities that follows. I was excited about applying what I have learnt in university to the workplace; the programme was a great bridge between gaining knowledge and applying that knowledge in the real world. The fact that the programme came with a Master's degree was a bonus.
After the FGTP, I joined S&OP (now OTS) as a product mix analyst in my hometown Auckland, incorporating the technical knowledge and skills gained in the programme with dollar signs. Then I moved onto a more commercial role as Strategist in Commercial Forecasting & Strategy. In this role I looked at international market dynamics, developing trends in key markets, customer relationships etc. to formulate portfolio strategies for each of our key product groups.
An amazing opportunity was then offered to me to come up to the rapidly growing market of China and manage a few projects from the Shanghai office. Moving from Fonterra's central operation to one of the markets was an eye-opener. I've now been in China for over a year and been involved in customer facing meetings, business partnership discussions, travelled up and down the country and even patted a newborn calf! As a Business Development Manager I look after a number of projects for the Foodservices sector of Fonterra's China business -- living and working in the fast-paced city of Shanghai.