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Pacific workers start new life, gain new skills with TAFE NSW


Pacific workers start new life, gain new skills with TAFE NSW

Maua Leuta Masoe and Seru Matailakeba learn on the job with TAFE NSW at the Casino Food Co-op

TAFE NSW is partnering with The Casino Food Co-op to deliver crucial training to 72 Pacific Island workers as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Pacific Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme. The Scheme is designed to help meet labour shortages in the agriculture and agriculture-related food product manufacturing sectors in regional Australia.

Simon Stahl, CEO of The Casino Food Co-op, said there is an immediate demand for workers in the meat and livestock industry, which employs almost half a million workers and generates more than $50 billion of revenue for the economy each year.

“Like many industries here in Northern NSW, there’s strong demand for workers in the meat processing industry. TAFE NSW has been instrumental in training many of our employees to ensure their job readiness in all aspects of our industry, in turn driving domestic growth and boosting economic prosperity for the Northern Rivers region.”

Wollongbar teacher, Alan Davis, is a member of the TAFE NSW team delivering training in the Certificate II in Meat Processing (Abattoirs). Alan comes from Papua New Guinea, which gives him a cultural understanding that helps inform his teaching approach with the students.  

“We relate the TAFE NSW training to the lives of our Pacific Island students’ lives back home and we’re seeing great outcomes with this approach. For many of them, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. 

“We teach the course on-site at the Co-op, allowing our students to learn on the job. They’re achieving great results, with many on track to move on to their Certificate III in Meat Processing and all the future job opportunities this opens for them,” Mr Davis said.

The Co-op's Simon Stahl said these opportunities go well beyond meat processing. 

“The meat industry has so many career pathways in diverse areas like quality control, food safety, Work Health and Safety, accounting, logistics, livestock and administration – TAFE NSW gives us access to training in all these areas and we’re proud to have partnered with them for nearly 20 years."

For two of the workers, Seru Matailakeba from Fiji and Mauaiseasoloufili (Maua) Leuta Masoe from Samoa, TAFE NSW is providing skills for a new life. 

“I was working in the tourism industry in New Zealand when Covid-19 hit,” said Maua. “I took this opportunity and I’ve already learned so much from my TAFE NSW teachers. Now I want to learn everything about the meat and livestock industry and take all the opportunities my training brings me.” 

For Seru, TAFE NSW is also helping him change careers.  

“In Fiji I achieved my Diploma in Nautical Science, but my career options were limited. This opportunity has allowed me to think about how my existing skills can be applied in the meat and livestock industry. Working at the Co-op has given me hands-on skills, and through my TAFE NSW studies I understand so much more about procedures, business operations, and the livestock,” he said. 

Maua said her TAFE NSW teachers made the process of learning easy. 

“Our TAFE NSW teachers have been amazing – so welcoming and supportive – and they deliver messages in ways that are easy for us to understand. I’ve learned so much and I’m excited about this next part of my career journey.”

Media contact: Emily Graham, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7921 3756.