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Where there’s a will there’s a whey: Emma’s cheesemaking journey

National qualifications, skill sets and units of competency for the art of cheesemaking, brewing, distilling, and food and beverage fermenting are being developed as part of the Artisanal Food & Beverage Project.

This national project is being driven by industry, many of who have had to travel to Europe to learn the craft or find somebody locally to share their skills. They want the next generation of artisan food producers to be able to access this training in Australia with nationally recognised qualifications.

Skills Impact spoke to Emma De Souza, Production Manager Grandvewe Cheeses, about her experiences becoming a cheesemaker and why the project matters so much to her.

“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.”

Image sourced from Grandvewe Cheeses 

In 2015 Emma left behind busy Sydney life and her job managing a disability service to move to Tasmania. She wanted to change up her career and was interested in artisan or traditional methods of making foods. Emma decided on cheesemaking. Her first thought was “what kind of certification or course do I need to become a qualified cheese maker?” Emma was shocked to discover that there was no national accredited course for the art of making cheese. She did identify options on the mainland where the national food processing qualification had been adapted and modified to make it specific to cheesemaking, but this was not available in Tasmania despite the abundance of cheese being produced in the area. By a stroke of luck Emma actually ended up finding employment with a local artisanal cheese maker who trained her on-the-job.

A final draft of the Diploma of Artisan Cheese Making will be available for validation and comment on the project webpage; the timeline for this is anticipated to be in May. Thank you to everybody that provided feedback on the draft that was available from 29 January – 4 March 2018.