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Ministry of Education.
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Vocation stories – Quality assurance manager, Cedenco Foods

Carla McCullouch started work in the meatworks in a laboratory and now manages quality assurance for Cedenco Foods.

Duration: 02:27


Carla McCulloch:

So I left high school and my father encouraged me to go to university. So, I went to university to study pharmacy, but when I got there I realised I really didn’t like chemistry, so I thought, "Uh-oh what am I doing?" So I picked up micro biology papers and really enjoyed them, so then carried on to finish my bachelor of science.

I picked up a job at the meatworks in my local town and started working in the laboratory. I was really lucky. I had a very good mentor who taught me some really good habits around paperwork, testing, compliance – so that really set me in good stead for my career.

I picked up a job after three years of managing a laboratory in the lower North Island. The lab hadn’t been built then, so I actually got the opportunity to set the lab up, design the lab, even down to putting the power points in all the places that I wanted to have them. So, it was excellent.

I was there for two years and then I got a call. My boss from my meat industry days rung me up and said, “Look, I’m looking for someone to move to Gisborne, to manage the microbiology lab, are you interested?” And so I said, "Yeah sure, count me in."

So I ended up in Cedenco managing the microlab and my career's just taken off from there. So I started off in the microlab. I managed the QA lab as well, and then I’ve become the QA manager, just through my experience of working in all the QA positions. 

So at Cedenco we’ve got so many different products, different lines and we have a lot of seasonal workers, so it’s really hard to attract people with good skills.

I would say to any students thinking about it, just ring up your local food company, just ask if you can have a look around, even ask if you could work with someone for four hours or a day. I know you’re not going to get paid, but just show that you’re keen and people really like that. We’re just looking for hard working, keen people to come into the business. We’re not often worried if they’re not trained, or have a degree. It’s a help and we do look at that fondly, but just have a go and just show that you’re keen and that you’ll work hard. Get into it, there’s so many jobs out there to choose from.

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