New Zealand's meat processing and exporting sector has launched a campaign to help address the industry's chronic shortage of employees.
The "Meat your career" website aims to highlight the wide range of opportunities available in the sector and shift the historic perceptions of what working in the industry is like.
The website includes videos featuring people working in the industry talking about their roles, a description of the types of positions available, and guidance on remuneration.
The recruitment drive is underpinned by a social media campaign targeting potential employees and making them aware of the opportunities in the sector.
The Meat Industry Association (MIA) developed the campaign.
"The industry is about 2000 workers short and this results in reduced production and robs New Zealand of important export revenue," the association's chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said.
The campaign was focused on letting Kiwis know that the sector was innovative, progressive and at the cutting-edge of food manufacturing, Karapeeva said.
"Our people are world leaders in producing and exporting quality and nutritious food to more than 100 markets across the globe. We offer a range of exciting roles, competitive salaries, strong career pathways and an incredibly diverse workforce."
There were roles for people without any formal qualifications or experience, as well as those who had completed training, or tertiary and post-graduate study, Karapeeva said.
"We have graduates working in many areas of the industry including sales and marketing,
international trade, communications, IT, new product development and food science. There are strong career paths to enable graduates to progress from entry level to more senior and management roles."
There were also opportunities in processing for people of different ages, stages of life and levels of experience, "from school leavers to those looking for a career change or a return to the workplace."
Full training was provided in entry level roles, leading to formal NZQA qualifications and there was potential to progress to leadership or supervisory roles, as well as apprenticeships, Karapeeva said.
Meat processing workers did a variety of tasks and were relatively well paid - an experienced lead hand could earn a salary comparable to a primary school teacher or registered nurse, Karapeeva said.
The industry was the largest on the job trainer in the country, and people were a valuable resource, she said.
"While we invest heavily in automation and technology, many of the processing tasks need to be done by a person and cannot easily be automated."
The sector directly employs more than 25,000 workers with the vast majority in regional New Zealand, where meat processors are often the largest single employer in many towns.
The red meat sector generated $9.3 billion of exports last year.
Find out more at meatyourcareer.co.nz