WHAT does a day in the life of a cheese maker quality control manager entails?
The first thing I do in the morning is the production plan for the factory to ensure that everybody knows what they need to produce for the day.
I ensure that the lab weighs out correct cheese making cultures for the day's production.
I do release for packing quality checks for the day's packing, do cheese quality grading, and check that chemical analysis and hygiene analysis are within specifications.
During the cheese production process I ensure adherence to cheese making recipes.
I ensure cheeses in maturation rooms are maturing within correct parameters and that any non-conformance within the factory is recorded and investigated.
I ensure throughout factory adherence system.
I also check feedback and monitor customer queries.
Part of my job is to plan and implement new product development.
At the end of the day, I make sure cleaning procedures are adhered to and that all production and maturation rooms run within correct parameters.
There are many other functions that I must oversee but the above are the main focus points.
Why did you decide on this career?
I had never really planned to do this as a career. After my military service I needed to earn money while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
I started as a temp worker in a small cheese factory in Ceres (my home town).
I started with loading trucks and cleaning the factory. I later moved into the production areas and started learning as much as I could from the experienced guys on the floor and from the cheese makers. I also ensured that I collected as much information as I could from literature around cheese making and started studying.
I soon realised that I had a bit of a knack for cheese making and found it quite exciting even though it is quite hardwork and very time consuming.
How did you get into this career?
Through a friend of my parents who gave me the job at the Ceres factory.
What's challenging about the job?
Cheese is a great product to eat. To create the product and to consistently be able to produce the same product takes a great deal of time, dedication and continuous focus on all the details.
The cows do not go on holiday, so you need to be producing cheese 365 days a year.
What do you love most about your career?
Being able to create products that are exceptional and that are enjoyed by thousands of people.
The combination of scientific knowledge and artistic flair.
What type of person would make a success of this position?
Hard-working, attention to detail with artistic flair type people. People who work within structures but those are willing to look outside the box as well.
What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?
Maths, biology and natural science would help.
What does one study at tertiary level to get into this career?
Food technology, micro biology, production management or lab management.
What growth prospects are there for this career?
Cheese maker, development manager, department manager, production manager, HACCP manager and factory manager.
What is the entry-level salary?
From R8000 to R10000.