Mechanical engineer for Oakey Beef Exports Ade Ariantika loves her job.
Mechanical engineer for Oakey Beef Exports Ade Ariantika loves her job. Contributed

City girl finds dream job in red meat sector

IT WAS the best decision she ever made.

Jakarta-raised mechanical engineer Ade Ariantika surprised her family back home in Indonesia and her friends at her Brisbane university when she accepted a job working at Oakey Beef Exports' processing plant.

But the bright 23-year-old, who loves learning and solving a good challenge, said moving from a capital city to the rural Darling Downs in Queensland was "the best decision she ever made".

Today, she is now a project engineer for Oakey Beef, overseeing jobs that range from $20,000 to $3million.

Ade is now speaking out about her positive experience working in the red meat industry, hoping more young women, just like her, will be encouraged to join in.

Even before she was seven years old, she always knew she wanted to be a mechanical engineer just like her dad.

In 2012, she moved to Australia to finish her degree at the Queensland University of Technology.

Her study required her to complete a work placement and when she saw an advertisement for a company-based project at Oakey Beef's rendering plant, she jumped at the chance to work on the feasibility study.

"When the company offered me a position, I asked for my friends' advice and some of them actually discouraged me for taking the role," she said.

"I think that was due to the fact that they had lived in Brisbane all their lives and the idea of moving to a country town was quite unimaginable to them.

"But when I started to work here I didn't see at all what their concerns were."

Nowadays, Ade normally starts work at 6am and finishes at 4pm.

While her job title is "project engineer" you could simply describe her role as "problem solver".

"If we have a bottleneck, my job is to find out what the root cause of the problem is and look at how we can fix it," she said.

"So that helps not only the company but the people on the floor as well."

The best part about her work is that she gets to see the projects from beginning to end.

While her university degree focussed on the technical side of her work, Oakey Beef has giving her a deeper practical knowledge.

She is now experienced in creating business case studies for her projects.

"Oakey Beef Exports has raised me from a stiff, fresh graduate to become an adaptive, applicable engineer with a focus on overcoming problems by looking at different perspectives," she said.

"It is a combination of economic, technical, and practical, which I believe benefits everyone."

Since moving to the Darling Downs, Ade has settled in well.

"The best thing I found out about living in a country town is that everyone is so friendly," she said.

"Basically everyone will wave to you, even if they don't know you. They will say 'hi' and talk to you, it's very heartwarming. That's the best thing I found out about living in country town.

"In big cities people tend to ignore each other."

Ade believes her career, compared to some of her friends, has progressed more rapidly thanks to the growing opportunities in the red meat processing industry.

"Unlike gas or mining, which goes through economic cycles, I'm in a very stable career and still have many opportunities to continue to learn on the job," she said.

"I consider the people at Oakey Beef to be like a second family to me."

Ade said she supported the Australian Meat Processors Corporation's "Meat. Your. Career" campaign.

"I think, as an industry, we are being underestimated," she said.

"The campaign is about changing the stereotype - to show everyone the jobs in the meat industry aren't just for a middle-aged man, it can also be for a young female who is doing something she is passionate about," she said.

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