Duck Season: CRC student lands role with industry

Although still completing an honours degree in Animal & Veterinary Bioscience at the University of Sydney, Will Taylor knows exactly where his first job will be.

Pepe’s Ducks were seeking candidates for several Honours projects at the university, and one in particular, looking at Pekin ducks under commercial conditions, appealed to him (Pekin is the breed used in the popular dish Peking Duck).

The projects are the result of a collaboration between Pepe’s Ducks, the University of Sydney and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).

Will knew the Poultry CRC funded undergraduate students through Honours scholarships, so he applied for one and the CRC agreed to support him financially throughout the last year of his degree.

Will is now just weeks from finishing and has already been offered a graduate traineeship with Pepe’s, starting early next year.

“Pepe’s wanted a science graduate they can train from the ground up and groom for a management position down the track,” said Will.

“It’s a practical kind of job, which I like. I’ll be out there in the field, where I can apply the knowledge I’ve gained at uni.”

Pepe’s General Manager, John Houston, interviewed Will and is keen to harness his potential.

“The duck industry in Australia is still in its infancy and the door is open for young people like Will to jump in and lead us into the future,” said John.

“Our company, and the industry in general, are moving in new directions, trying to find the best ways to get more out of our ducks in terms of meat quality and value.”

“The industry’s role in this process is vital. We have to nurture and channel our recruits’ enthusiasm and focus – ensuring they have the opportunities and tools to develop the industry.”

Will grew up on a farm north west of Dubbo, went to high school at The King’s School in Parramatta and then started a course in agricultural science before switching to animal science when he realised he was interested in intensive animal production.

“Pepe’s training program goes for about 40 weeks and involves exposure to every aspect of production, including hatcheries, breeder farms and processing plants.”

“If all goes to plan, ultimately I’ll end up as a farm manager liaising with farmers and giving them advice, helping with problems and record-keeping, for instance.”

“It’s great, because I’ll get a real feel for the industry, right at the coalface.”

The Poultry CRC is proud to have been able to assist Will on his journey into the industry and we’re confident he’ll become a leader of the future. The poultry industries just need more people like him!

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