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Launching new careers through cooperative research

Wednesday 29th of October 2014

The collaborative model of the Sheep CRC and its focus on building the capacity of industry participants have been key selling points in attracting skilled and motivated job-seekers.

The Armidale-based Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) operates as part of the Federal Department of Industry’s CRC program. It is a collaboration of 38 organisations from across industry, government and the commercial sector, and includes producer groups, farm advisers, universities and research organisations, meat processors and retailers.

Sheep CRC Chief Executive James Rowe said the CRC model appealed to people looking for a long-term career path within the sheep industry, as it offered exposure to world-class research, access to training, and networking opportunities at conferences and workshops within Australia and overseas.

"The Sheep CRC is designed to build the capacity of the individuals and organisations that make up the industry and the fact that CRCs are not designed to go on forever means they offer an ideal opportunity for somebody who wants an accelerated career development opportunity," Prof. Rowe said.

"Our staff are not only at the forefront of research and development, but they are exposed to operations of our 38 Participant organisations. These relationships ensure that their work is grounded in the real world and offers new avenues for staff to pursue career opportunities both around Australia and around the world."

The Sheep CRC is in its final term and will operate until June 2019. Its remit is to increase the productivity and profitability of the industry through the utilisation of new technologies in both the meat and wool supply chains. This involves innovative research, the development of new products and training programs focussed on the areas of genomics, the sheepmeat supply chain, and improving animal wellbeing.

The Sheep CRC’s outgoing Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary Stephen Potts is an example of the career pathways on offer, having recently accepted the position of Chief Operating Officer at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) after 4½ years at the CRC.

Mr Potts’s duties at the CRC required high-level skills in accounting, financial management, governance and project management. As a member of the CRC’s Executive Committee, he also provided advice on business systems and development.

"The national scale of the CRC’s research program also delivered a unique opportunity to gain experience in the commercialisation of a wide variety of products and information focussed on delivering real benefit to the industry," he said.

"The CRC offers a unique employment and development opportunity for the right person. While regionally based it is nationally focussed with the opportunity to apply your skills across the portfolio and build networks through all levels of the industry.

"The CRC’s collaboration between 38 organisations is a complex structure but it provides valuable experience for taking on roles in larger companies that also have extensive business partnerships and multiple departments, such as MLA," Mr Potts said.

The position of Sheep CRC Finance Manager and Company Secretary was recently advertised. More information is available at www.sheepcrc.org.au.

Media contact: Michael Thomson on 07 4927 0805 / 0408 819 666

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