Date Published: 05-11-17

On Wednesday 1 November, local high school students were given a taste for careers in the booming food industry when they took part in the inaugural Central Coast Food Industry Showcase, held at the Ourimbah Campus.

More than 70 students from Wyong High School and Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Tumbi Umbi and Berkeley Vale campuses, took part in a series of activities at the event, which aimed to encourage an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) related careers across all food industry sectors.

From paddock to plate, the students were given insights and an understanding of what it would be like to work in careers from agriculture, food production and food manufacturing to hospitality, and learn from the experiences of inspiring professionals, researchers and teachers working in these fields.

Funded by NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet - Office of Regional Development and delivered by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Central Coast, this important regional educational event was delivered in partnership with the University of Newcastle (UON), Central Coast Community College, TAFE NSW, Department of Primary Industry (DPI) and P-Tech (Pathways to Technology program) to showcase the opportunities available for students to build a rewarding career, in the food industry on the Central Coast.

“Food manufacturing and production is a major growth opportunity for the Central Coast economy and by all regional stakeholders working together to grow this important regional industry, it will directly assist the Coast to deliver the 24,674 additional jobs required in our region by 2036. The Central Coast Food Industry Showcase is an essential component of industry growth as it is essential that we have willing, trained and skilled residents, that are ready to fill the jobs of tomorrow.

“The Showcase was a taster of some of the outstanding food industry careers available on the Central Coast and across the globe and the opportunity to highlight the world-class educational facilities available at our local student’s doorstep.” said RDA Central Coast CEO John Mouland.

On the day, the students had the opportunity to savor the new food products developed, created and packaged by UON Food Science and Human Nutrition Students, they took a tour of the DPI research facilities and TAFE commercial cookery spaces, and learned Barista skills at the Central Coast Community College.

Jemima Gleeson from Central Coast company Glee Coffee, helped the students make their own coffee and shared Glee’s food industry journey with the students, as a guest speaker.

Other guest speakers who shared their stories of working in the food industry included, chickpea researcher and representative of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology representative, Dr Soumi Mukhopadhyay, and Central Coast food waste and sustainability expert, Elizabeth Bilk from WildBlue Global.

The event was attended by members of Local, State and Federal Government, including: Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch; Member of the Legislative Council, Taylor Martin; Federal Shadow Minister for Employment Services, Workforce Participation and Future of Work, Ed Husic; Member for Dobell, Emma McBride; Member for Wyong, David Harris; Member for Gosford Liesel Tesch; and Central Coast Deputy Mayor, Chris Holstein.