In 2016, the Timaru District Council reported that many South Canterbury firms were struggling with skill shortages that threatened to slow business growth. One of the identified issues was the lack of communication and connection with local education providers and businesses across all sectors.

With the key purpose of developing short, medium and long-term actions to improve skills shortages in the region, a number of collaborative initiatives and activities were undertaken in this space with the Food Manufacturing and Processing Business Connection forum, Aoraki Development, ARA and local education providers banded together to come up with initiatives to help solve the issue.

The DB Draught Brewery has been a key part of those initiatives, helping local workforces and encouraging young people into employment.

In 2017, the brewery took part in industry sector days, showcasing career pathways at the brewery. We’ve also supported NZQA Food Manufacturing and Processing qualifications, offering work experience to people looking to enter the industry.

Azaria Sheppard is a great example of how the programme can help. On leaving school, Azaria was keen on a career in sciences but was not ready for university. She was looking for work experience to help her decide what she should do next and DB offered her a role as a fixed-term laboratory technician, which eventually led to a full-time position at DB Draught.

"I really enjoy working at DB because I’m learning new things all the time, and the work is quite challenging and makes you think. It’s also helped me to think about my career options, and I’m now keen to study sciences at university next year," Azaria says.

DB Draught Brewery Manager Kim Haack says, «Skill shortages is a region-wide issue, affecting all businesses in this community, so it’s really important that we are actively involved in developing and supporting these initiatives. It’s been really good to get some early success stories, like Azaria, as these really help promote and drive further success».