Emily & Carine

Job: Food Technician     Area: Timaru

The Lab Technicians

Carine and Emily graduated with Science degrees and now work in Fonterra's laboratories, where Carine is a Team Leader and Emily is a Senior Laboratory Technician. They both enjoy the problem-solving and analytical thinking their jobs demand.

So you’re Lab Technicians... what does that mean?
Carine: I supervise a team. Our lab provides testing for every Fonterra plant in the South Island, so we're busy. We test process milk products as they go through the plant and finished products from the plants to ensure the products meet customer requirements and food safety regulations.
Emily:  I work in the sensory lab – here we have panellists who evaluate the taste, smell and appearance of all raw ingredients before they are put into product. I check the panellists are trained properly and the testing process is accurate.

What is a typical day like?
Carine & Emily: We work 6am to 6pm, starting the day with a meeting. It's important to communicate with the team. Then we set up for testing which is done until 4pm. We also enter and verify results, ensure quality control and communicate with customers.

What do you love about your work?
Carine & Emily: Variety, problem-solving and working with people. When you are with people 12 hours a day, you really get to know them.

What skills are required for your job?
Carine & Emily: Good time management, enthusiasm and attention to detail. You must be good at following instructions for the testing process and be able to prioritise.

Tell us about your university studies?
Carine: I took a double major in Plant and Microbial Science and Zoology. Uni is great but it's a big transition from high school. It's all about motivation and what you put in to succeed.
Emily: I did a double major in Biochemistry and Pharmacology, but the role I'm doing here is more Food Science, which proves there's a variety of opportunities with a Science degree.

What advice would you give young people thinking of entering the industry?
Carine & Emily: Keep an open mind. There’s a lot more to the agricultural industry than what you see on a farm. Lots of opportunities are out there. Don't be afraid to ask to go into a lab for a day and see what it's like.

Back to The Real World
"We really like the variety. Everyday is a bit different; there is a lot of problem-solving which we love."

How did I get here:

School - NCEA: Science, Maths, Biology, Agriculture

University: Bachelor of Science