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Fonterra offers opportunities for new graduates

Media Release

3 June 2005

Fonterra offers opportunities for new graduates

Post-graduate training with Fonterra conjures up images of white lab coats, of doctoral students carrying out research into milk components and new manufacturing techniques.

As one of ten finance graduates currently working for the dairy co-operative, Claire McPhail demonstrates that the range of opportunities on offer is broader than many people might think.

Claire, who has a degree in accounting and commercial law, says the Fonterra graduate programme has been a fantastic experience.

“You have the opportunity to do so many different types of accounting – not just management or financial. More than that, we get training in things like presentation techniques, which develop all-round business skills” she says.

“As well, working in different parts of the company, experiencing different office cultures and different communities, teaches you how to operate out of your comfort zone.”

Financial Services Manager Carl Hankins says Fonterra is always looking for quality graduates, and the range of opportunities the company offered would surprise a lot of people.

“Because of Fonterra’s size and scope, graduates coming to us can gain experience across the whole range of financial disciplines, from auditing, to treasury, to tax, to mergers and acquisitions. They can also experience a number of different work environments: manufacturing sites, the corporate office, and Fonterra Brands (the company’s fast-moving-consumer-goods division, which includes the Mainland and Tip Top operations),” he says.

As well as finance, Fonterra offers similar opportunities to graduates interested in a career in marketing, supply chain, HR, or IT and, in conjunction with Massey University, offers engineering and science graduates the chance to complete a Master of Dairy Science and Technology degree. This latter programme has been the launch pad for a number of the co-operative’s senior managers.

Claire is currently working at Fonterra Business Services, the company’s Hamilton-based global back office, having already had stints at the Whareroa manufacturing site (the world’s largest dairy processing facility), and at Mainland’s Auckland office. Like her fellow graduates, she will do four six-month stints in different parts of Fonterra, getting a feel for how the company works. Students have some input into where they spend the final six months of the two-year programme, and Claire is eying the possibility of spending some time in Palmerston North with the Marketing & Innovation division.

As part of the programme, Claire and her fellow trainees have frequent sessions with a Fonterra mentor. Claire says the mentoring, and the contact with fellow graduates, is a great help.

“It gives you a good support network. We all get together regularly for training – everything from computer training to classes in impromptu speaking – and compare notes.”

Claire says she has also learnt a lot about the dairy industry.

“I grew up on a dairy farm in the Manawatu, but until I started working for Fonterra I had no real appreciation of the size of the business and the size of the contribution dairying makes to the New Zealand economy. You also realise how important Fonterra is on the local level, how big a part it plays in the community.

“I think Fonterra’s being a co-operative adds to it as well. You’re really aware you’re working for the farmers – Dad always says I’m working for him now.”

• Fonterra starts a round of graduate presentations in July. Details are listed on

• To find out more about these and other opportunities, visit these websites,

- Ends -

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