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Say Cheese: new diploma in artisan cheese making an important step for industry

The first nationally recognised Diploma of Artisan Cheesemaking will soon be available for use by registered training organisations. It was developed as part of the Artisanal Food and Beverage Project, which was driven by industry demand for training in high level, specialised cheesemaking. Industry want future generations of aspiring cheesemakers to be able to access training in Australia, supporting the regions where small batch cheesemaking businesses are taking off.

The passion of the artisanal food and beverage industry as a whole was evident throughout the project. Individuals shared their stories and invited us into their businesses to ensure the needs of industry were understood. Overall, engagement was recorded with 247 stakeholders across all of Australia’s states and territories.

Gina Dal Santo is a cheesemaker and lecturer at The Artisan Cheese Making Academy Australia (ACMAA), which operates as part of TAFE SA. She’s just one of the many industry volunteers who’ve helped develop the new cheesemaking qualification. It was a lack of accredited cheese making courses in Australia that made Gina decide to start ACMAA, tailoring the Certificate III in Food Processing.

“I saw the opportunity to start something big. Since then we’ve run short courses, done a Churchill Fellowship on cheese education overseas, and secured not only a Cert III in Food Processing, which I contextualise for cheese making, but soon a new diploma in cheese!”

Gina was enthusiastic in offering her expertise to developing a Diploma in Cheesemaking. “Without industry being involved and without looking at what industry is asking for, perhaps the Diploma of Artisan Cheese Making would not have eventuated. The decision to create a qualification with ‘cheese’ in the title is a first for Australia and I am extremely pleased to be involved with the decision-making.”

Emma De Souza, Production Manager Grandvewe Cheeses, left behind her busy Sydney life for a career in cheesemaking.

While Gina’s course was running when Emma first sought training, she was shocked to find there was nothing available in Tasmania, where she was living – even though the area is known for its cheese. Emma was fortunate enough to find employment with a local artisanal cheese maker who trained her on-the-job, but her example demonstrates the need for a qualification focussed on cheesemaking.

“In a country with an abundance of high quality milk products, it’s absurd we don’t have a specific qualification for cheese making. The industry needs training options that address both the art and science of cheesemaking in both theoretical and practical ways, and these options need to be accessible to people located across the country where the raw materials are sourced and artisan products are actually being made. This project is an important first step to ensuring future cheesemakers of Australia can access training.”

The reason the new Diploma in Artisan Cheese Making will soon be available, is because people like Emma and Gina spoke up about the needs of their industry. Skills Impact would like to thank the wide range of stakeholders from every state who contributed to this project.

All final drafts from the Artisanal Food and Beverage Project are currently undergoing an edit and equity and independent quality assurance process. They will then be submitted to the AISC for approval. Once approved, they will be published on training.gov.au and be available for use by registered training organisations.