Australia's Intercollegiate Meat Judging Association (ICMJ) is investigating new digital delivery methods for meat science training and career networking after COVID-19 (coronavirus) forced the cancellation of its annual conferences.
ICMJ president Peter McGilchrist said that as a result of the measures brought in to limit the spread of coronavirus, the association's national committee had decided to cancel all of its 2020 face-to-face events, including overseas tours, school competitions, and its annual conferences in Wagga Wagga and Rockhampton.
Dr McGilchrist said while protecting the health and safety of the public was paramount, he believed ICMJ also had a responsibility to ensure that the red meat industry was well prepared when the economy enters recovery mode.
"With face-to-face events no longer possible, ICMJ is now preparing a program of activities to be delivered from digital platforms to ensure students and young industry professionals can continue to access training and networking opportunities," Dr McGilchrist said.
"We obviously can't take students for on-site training at the moment, with some meat processors reporting they will be closed to visitors for at least nine months, so we need to find other ways to keep people engaged.
"Ideas we are looking into include training webinars, podcasts with leading meat science researchers and practitioners, a potential virtual careers fair to link students with potential employers, 'how to' videos for sharing via social media, and online quizzes and competitions.
"And with schools and universities now being forced to deliver online, ICMJ will also be investigating how we can develop learning materials that are aligned to their curricula."
Dr McGilchrist said the shift to online delivery would take some time to prepare, but he was confident a new series of activities could be launched by mid-year.
"Some of these ideas may not be feasible, but it is important for the future of the red meat industry that we leave no stone unturned in investigating options for building the knowledge and skills base of its future leaders," he said.
The ICMJ Association is a not-for-profit organisation run by a 100 percent volunteer committee, funded by Meat & Livestock Australia, the Australian Meat Processing Corporation and industry sponsors, with a mission to 'Inspire and develop future professionals in the global red meat industry'.
Now in its 30th year of existence, the Australian ICMJ has a long and successful reputation of attracting graduates to careers in the red meat industry.
- For more information visit www.icmj.com.au
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