WINNERS: (From left) Darwalla human resources and quality manager Juan Corredor, Chief Executive Officer David Greaves and Deputy Premier  John Barilaro presented with the Medium Employer of the Year Award.
WINNERS: (From left) Darwalla human resources and quality manager Juan Corredor, Chief Executive Officer David Greaves and Deputy Premier John Barilaro presented with the Medium Employer of the Year Award. Mark Graham Photo

WINNERS: Hatchery owners breed future leaders

THE company behind a new $22million hatchery in Allora has been recognised as one of the best trainers in Australia.

Darwalla Group was named Medium Employer of the Year at the 2017 Australian Training Awards last month, making it one of just four Queensland businesses to take out major awards.

Darwalla Group human resources and quality manager Juan Corredor said the business not only focused on building tangible skills through training, but also leadership and management.

"Sourcing experienced poultry personnel is an issue in the industry so what we're trying to do is build our future leaders,” he said.

"We can build future leaders not only for our own company but for the poultry industry.”

The win could make the business more attractive to Southern Downs job seekers, who will have the opportunity to apply for a range of positions at the new local hatchery in the near future.

Darwalla Group Hatchery is currently based at Mt Cotton, but Mr Corredor said for the new hatchery in Allora the preference for positions would be given to Southern Downs residents.

Mr Corredor said eight employees were already working at the new hatchery, with positions soon to open up for people with a range of skills including truck driving, maintenance, cleaning and automation.

"We're an employer of choice and what it means is we can firmly and factually say that we have a lot to contribute not only to our employees but to the community,” he said.

"You have joined a professional, ethical company and it's not just work, we strive to develop you.

"You will be given the right tools for you to succeed.”

Mr Corredor said the difference at Darwalla was vocation programs were designed, developed and delivered by Darwalla's own staff.

"We all are part of the training because we want them to see that vocational training applies to everyone,” he said.

Darwalla has previously focused on technical skills through training but has now shifted emphasis to building cultural knowledge.

"We didn't win the award by only what we are doing currently, we set the foundations in the past five years developing our staff on the technical side of the business and more recently focusing on cultural change,” Mr Corredor said.

Mr Corredor said training now focuses on improving existing systems.

"You learn about identifying waste, solving problems to see processes in a much bigger picture and look for opportunities,” Mr Corredor said.

Darwalla is the largest Queensland-owned poultry producer, growing more than 25million chickens a year in south-east Queensland and New South Wales.

The company's new hatchery due to open early in the new year is set to reach 800,000 chickens at peak production.

It is set to feature robotic technology from Canada, while other equipment has been sourced from Europe, including world-leading incubators from Belgium.

Much of the incoming equipment will be used for the first time in the country.

Mr Corredor said the company was ambitious, with the recent award demonstrating the further success likely to lie ahead.

"It's the most modern hatchery in Australia, we have brought the latest technology here to Australia,” he said.

"We're very humbled to be changing people's lives but also changing the face of the industry.”



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