The Gardiner Dairy Foundation has joined forces with Monash University to combat a skills gap in the dairy industry through the Monash Industry Team Initiative (MITI) by partnering multidisciplinary student teams with leading dairy manufacturing companies to solve research and development challenges.

Now in its third consecutive year, this partnership continues to grow in reach and appeal with a 60 per cent increase in participation from major dairy manufacturers and students.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mary Harney, has explained that the MITI program motivates students to consider a future career in the dairy industry while strengthening their practical skills.

“As part of our commitment to investing in the vibrant future of the dairy industry, we have collaborated with Monash University for the past three years to provide industry access to young and innovative minds while offering students unique insights into a career path they may have never considered otherwise.

“We are proud to report that the project has been a major success in bridging the skills gap in the dairy industry with a number of students returning to work full-time at the organisation where they underwent their MITI placement,” said Ms Harney.

Participating manufacturers include Bega Cheese, Burra Foods, Fonterra Australia, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, and for the first time Lion Dairy and Drinks, Parmalat, DataGene and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).

One of the 2017 MITI participants, Amanda Li Chung Lum of the Fonterra Australia, Darnum placement, has described her takeaways from the MITI program as invaluable.

“The experience that I have obtained through the MITI program has exceeded my expectations. Not only did I develop technical skills that are far more advanced than could have been learned in any classroom, but I have built networks in an industry that may otherwise have not been on my radar,” said Amanda Li Chung Lum.

The 2017 participants will share their key learnings at the official MITI reception on Tuesday, 27 June 2017.

Please see the below outline of the 16 projects undertaken this year. Case studies of the individual groups are available on request.