The Intercollegiate Meat Judging Northern Conference and Competition attracted more than 80 young industry leaders to the Beef capital for a four day event in Rockhampton last week.
The conference enhances the training of red meat industry participants working in Northern Australia, students at universities and vocational training organisations, as well as agribusiness staff looking for professional development opportunities.
The second annual conference was postponed last year due to COVID, but the delay only grew the enthusiasm of organisers and attendees for the professional development and networking opportunity.
The conference offered young industry leaders the chance to participate in a wide range of meat science and beef quality presentations, including the breakdown of a carcase and careers available in the red meat sector.
SIxty university students from across Australia attended the conference, as well as about 25 industry professionals.
ICMJ Northern Committee chair and Teys Australia's General Manger of Operations in Biloela, Ethan Mooney, hailed the conference a success in providing an educational platform for young industry professionals.
"These skills, along with meat cut identification and judging, are critical for the future leaders of the red meat sector and that's why we are working on them here," Mr Mooney said.
"We're also broadening the networks of delegates at our industry expo, which is a big-ticket opportunity for attendees at ICMJ events to meet the operators of some of the biggest players in the northern beef sector and explore career opportunities."
CQUniversity Michael Thomson venue coordinator said the Beef industry had a challenge of trying to attract and retain skilled workers in the north.
"The Northern beef industry is the engine room of the National Beef Industry and programs like ICMJ are providing targeted training options for young industry professionals, to enhance those skills and keep them up here in the north," Mr Thompson said.
"The program featured everything from production techniques, technologies such as genomics, precision livestock monitoring technologies and cut identification carcass breakdowns.
"The delegates are really understanding what does a good piece of beef look like, what are the traits that it must have, in terms of fat coverage colour and what are the difference cuts used for."
Mr Thomson also said networking and professional development was also a key highlight of the Northern Conference.
"These soft skills will help these delegates throughout their career and show them how to work within big corporations, how to build relationships and how to communicate effectively," he said.
As the need for skilled workers in the northern beef industry continues to grow, Mr Thomson said . there are many jobs available and such a diversity of job types as well.
"We're providing skills for people to be able to go into management into into research and technology into nutrition of sales or marketing, or wherever it is along the supply chain," he said.
"It's about giving them the skills to be adaptable and responsive to the changes in innovation that are coming through the pipeline."
The delegates were also given the opportunity to compete in a Beef judging competition at Teys Australia's Rockhampton abbatoir on Saturday, to test their ability in assessing the quality of meat, the different cuts and attributes.
A full list and photo gallery of the competition winners will be provided soon.
The Australian ICMJ program has a long and successful history of attracting graduates to careers in the red meat industry and the Northern Conference has been designed to develop and retain existing talent in the industry.