New Zealand is looking to recruit 200 people with knife skills for the meat processing industry

In a country which encompasses approximately nine times more livestock than people, New Zealand recruitment company, Canstaff, are turning to Wales in search of skilled meat workers.

Meat processing is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry with 90% of New Zealand’s sheepmeat production, and 83% of beef production being exported each year. These exports alone are worth $5 billion and processing plants are struggling to keep up with the demand.

“Our clients have been attempting to source butchers, boners and meat processors for some time now,” said Matt Jones, Canstaff Managing Director. “The rapid growth in the meat processing industry has quickly surpassed the supply of potential workers and we needed to think outside the box to find a solution.”

Jones operates a globally recognised recruitment company and identified that recruiting overseas meat workers was the only way to fill the shortage gap, “We have previously tried numerous methods to recruit locals for the vacancies but were unsuccessful. There are low unemployment numbers in these areas which has narrowed the labour pool right down to begin with,” he said.

Meat workers have consistently been in short supply in New Zealand and a mild spring has seen low mortality rates during spring lambing. When coupled with high cattle prices, this has only served to exacerbate the existing pressures on meat processing plants. Recruiting international workers was naturally the next step for Canstaff.

Canstaff consultant, Llywela Lewis, who was born in Wales and emigrated to New Zealand as a child, noted the many similarities between her home country and New Zealand. “Both countries have the same industries and culture. Welsh people love New Zealand for that reason; they are familiar with the rural settings, farming, rugby and enjoy small town communities just as much as the cities,” she said.

It was Lewis who suggested appealing to Wales for meat workers as she recalled her own family’s struggles after a processing plant was closed down in North Wales. “We are aware of meat processing plants in Wales closing down or amalgamating with larger companies. We believe there will be experienced boners and butchers out there looking for work. We are really keen to reach out to these people and see if working in New Zealand appeals to them,” she said.

“There is a relocation package on offer to eligible applicants,” said Lewis. “We basically take all of the stress out the move and arrange everything for our applicants. All they need to do is apply and our specialist staff will guide them every step of the way.”

If you have meat industry experience and want to look at a short term or long term move to New Zealand now is the time!

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