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AgriFutures Australia, Media Release, 17 November 2021

As Australia’s chicken meat consumption continues to grow, attracting and developing emerging leaders in Australia’s chicken meat industry is crucial to ensuring its future success.

Scholarship recipient, Joshua Angove.
Photo: AgriFutures Australia

AgriFutures Australia’s Manager Research Rachele Osmond says as Australia’s chicken meat industry expands to meet consumer demands, there is a need for strong succession initiatives to help retain important skills and knowledge within the industry.

“Having young people start in the industry with access to different areas of the chicken meat supply chain can lead them into a fulfilling career with the industry and provide them with suitable contacts and networking opportunities that can help kickstart their career.”

Along with investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), investment in building the capacity of industry participants is a key focus for AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program in its efforts to foster an innovative, adaptive and valuable chicken meat industry.

“We’re committed to supporting future industry leaders by providing a range of capacity building opportunities and funding to early career professionals.”

Scholarship recipient proof of capacity building success

The Gary Sansom Scholarship is one of the Program’s many capacity building investments and seeks to invest in the future leaders of the Australian chicken meat industry, named in memory of the late Gary Sansom. At the time of his passing Gary was the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Advisory Panel Chair and Australian Chicken Meat Federation President.

“Gary was a strong advocate for initiatives to encourage new people into the chicken meat industry, championing several communication and training initiatives,” added Ms Osmond. “The intent of the scholarship is to support a high-quality student to undertake industry-relevant research, initiate engagement between the student and industry, and to foster a long-term career in the industry.”

In 2019 Joshua Angove was awarded the scholarship, and now nearing completion of his PhD, Mr Angove says his introduction to the chicken meat industry was through his honours project.

“I was intrigued by the concept of developmental programming (how the nutrition and environment of the hen influences how efficiently her progeny grow), so I sought a research project in that field and the only one available was in chicken meat production,” said Mr Angove.

“The scale of chicken meat production in Australia isn’t something I was ever exposed to growing up. Showing consumers just how much goes into raising and caring for the animal they ultimately buy from the supermarket is something I’ve become very passionate about.”

According to Mr Angove it was the networking and exposure opportunities afforded to him through the Gary Sansom Scholarship that have been most beneficial to his career endeavours.

“I was encouraged to apply [for the scholarship] by my primary supervisor. The opportunity to have an industry mentor and support to go to conferences meant more to me than the financial incentive. I attended the Australian Poultry Science Symposium (APSS) in 2019 and 2020, and was able to meet and talk with people from the industry.”

“It’s these opportunities, in addition to the financial support, that drive real value for the chicken meat industry,” said Ms Osmond.

“The chance to liaise directly with industry at a professional level can also link people with potential job opportunities; like it has in Josh’s case,” Ms Osmond says.

Mr Angove has recently commenced his new role at Baiada as Livestock Trainee for South Australia, something he credits to his participation in the Gary Sansom Scholarship.

“Without the opportunities provided by the scholarship I probably wouldn’t have the job I’m in now. The scholarship helped to get my name out there,” said Mr Angove.

Capacity building brings positive outcomes to industry

Katherine Balding, Nutritionist at Baiada and Chair of AgriFutures Australia’s Chicken Meat Advisory Panel, says they were excited to provide Mr Angove with an opening into the private poultry industry.

“Employing young, enthusiastic and hardworking individuals that fit into our culture is crucial to ensure our continued success.”

“As a company, Baiada will provide industry experience and further enhance Josh’s technical skills by challenging his conceptual knowledge, with the goal of developing a potential leader within our organisation,” said Ms Balding.

According to Dr Jorge Ruiz (General Manager Livestock Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd) Mr Angove’s prior experience in the academic field, together with the skills and networks he has developed through the Gary Sansom Scholarship, stand him in good stead for the future.

“Josh’s academic background has allowed him to develop good communication and problem-solving skills. As his industry knowledge and experience grows, these skills will enhance his current ability to generate new ideas and provide solutions.

“His network contacts will continue to grow and these will provide him with a resource to further develop his skills and knowledge,” said Dr Ruiz.

Young leaders to secure future of industry

Mr Angove is now looking forward to helping new PhD candidates and students see the industry as a potential career and all the different opportunities that it provides.

“While I was undertaking my honours project, I attended Poultry Hub Australia’s PoultryGrad and learnt about the different employment paths I could take. It was appeasing to discover there were alternatives for me because I didn’t want pursue a career as an academic.”

“I think there’s a real opportunity to showcase the range of career options provided by the chicken meat industry.”

Having experienced the impact of investment by AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program first-hand, Mr Angove is eager to see other young people enter the chicken meat industry.

“The exposure and opportunities that have come as a result of the Gary Sansom Scholarship have paved the way for a career that I see as a lifelong prospect,” he says

“The people in the chicken meat industry are great, there’s a real team culture and people just genuinely want to help you succeed. I never expected to be where I am today.”

The AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program supports and contributes to many capacity building initiatives that provides opportunities for researchers to broaden their access to industry, support their study and career pathway.

Find out more about the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program here.

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