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Steady and consistent recruitment across Irish meat processors
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Steady and consistent recruitment across Irish meat processors

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Dawn Meats filled 121 roles in 2016 while Kepak filled 100 this year, writes Mary Phelan.
Dawn Meats filled 121 roles in 2016 while Kepak filled 100 this year, writes Mary Phelan.

Kepak Group created more than 100 roles in 2016 and filled replacement positions on top of that. These roles included six graduates on Kepak’s graduate programme, while the hires also included a number on the new work permit scheme on the operations side. The work permit scheme closed in 2007 at the start of the recession, which meant Kepak couldn’t take in new employees from the European Economic Area. It had been doing this as it struggles to get highly skilled knife men and women. There are many people with these skills in eastern Europe, and Kepak helped to successfully lobby the Department to issue a limited number of permits to the industry this year. Employees began working in Kepak through this scheme in the second half of this year and the company expects a large number of jobs will be created on the basis of that.

Kepak is launching its graduate programme at the start of 2017 and is aiming to take on 10-15 new graduates, but the number hired depends on the quality of the graduates available. Kepak has three divisions which include frozen and meat and on the frozen side of the business, it looks for graduates from business/marketing/new product development backgrounds whereas for the meat division it is more interested in graduates from food business, agricultural science, technical and languages backgrounds. In fact, Kepak is open to graduates from most disciplines – the company says it is not just looking for ag science graduates anymore.

Niamh Keating, head of HR at Kepak, says she has seen a huge improvement in the quality of graduates coming through in recent years. “They are much more prepared, much more committed and they know what they want from their career. Gone are the days when it was just a job. We’re very open to that because as an organisation, we tend to promote from within.”

Dawn Meats was established in 1980 by three farming families in Carroll’s Cross in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford. Dawn took on 121 people in newly created roles in 2016, which included 15 graduate positions. Dawn employs 1,836 people altogether and its Irish sites include Grannagh, Co Waterford; Rathdowney, Co Laois; Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo; Chareville, Co Cork; as well as Carroll’s Cross.

Listen to "A preview of the Agri-Jobs supplement for 2016" on Spreaker.

Moyvalley Meats, based in Co Kildare, took on 10 new people in 2016 in newly created production roles. The company expects to hire for three more newly created roles in 2017 – two in sales and one in technical. Moyvally Meats employs 128 people altogether.

Slaney Foods told the Irish Farmers Journal “ongoing growth in our business is creating job opportunities at all levels. We welcome contact from people interested in working as general operatives wishing to develop butchering skills, butchers interested in working in an industrial environment, administrative and accounting staff, food science graduates, and other third level qualifications that will be needed in our business.”

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Special focus: agri careers

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