Pip Kirikiri shares her career journey in the food industry.
Vocation stories – Individually quick frozen quality assurance team leader, Cedenco Foods
Pip Kirikiri: Oh, I've always worked in the food industry. The first job I had was making pies by hand at Maketu pies and I enjoyed that but it just wasn’t enough for me. I still wanted to carry on in that sort of industry. So I moved onto the freezing works and did a year just as a normal packer there. Then I took a bit of interest in the quality side of things so they started advancing me a bit more, giving me more training. Then I became a QC at the freezing works [at] AFFCO Rangiuru in the Bay of Plenty, and then I stepped up a bit to the QA role, quality assurance.
When I found out there was a freezing works back here, I jumped on the first bus and came home, because this where I'm from, my family are here. So, came back and became the QC inspector at Ovations just out the back here and just advanced from there. Well, I took a bit of a break to have some children, but I got back into the industry and went to the kiwifruit – I had a lot of experience on that in, in Te Puke. That’s, I mean that’s, the kiwifruit country. Had a few years there and picked up some more skills there and just was trying to look for something where I could carry on, because there was never really any roles that I could carry on to in that industry because it’s only seasonal. So I came here and with the experience I was offered a QA job down in the tunnel and started on the peas.
It was a challenge because it was totally different to what I did. Similar procedures, but just different ways of doing it and, to be honest, I think it was more involved with checking and procedures – better than every other place I worked at I noticed. It’s more detailed, more paperwork, hands-on sort of thing and I just progressed from there and now this is my fourth season and I enjoy my job thoroughly. It’s the people that help too, help make your job a bit easier.
So I just kind of stepped into this role maybe a couple of months ago. I worked my way into it, it’s training and progress, so I just go down and I show them if we have any changes out of my QAs that are underneath me. I train them and show them how to do what we’re going to do and I explain it properly so they understand. I’ve been going through our SAPs before we start our next process, just making sure everything’s facing and correct before we start our process. I think that students should consider this as a job prospect for them. I didn’t think I would be here this long, but this is the job that I really enjoy out of all the jobs I had.
Carla McCullouch started work in the meatworks in a laboratory and now manages quality assurance for Cedenco Foods.
Fran Edwards trained as a medical laboratory technician. Now she manages a lab ensuring products meet customer specifications.
Noel Amor has worked for several food companies including Wattie's, Edmonds, and Cedenco.