Our ‘Where are you now?’ series takes a look at the lives of our Upskills alumni whānau. One of our values at Upskills is leaving a learning legacy and inspiring others with learner stories. When we asked Tai at Goodman Fielder Quality Bakers Auckland (QBA) if he would like to take part, he didn’t hesitate: “hopefully it will help others like Upskills helped me.” Tai started out doing the Goodman Fielder ‘Make it Happen’ training in 2015 and has stepped through to leadership, food processing qualifications and his baking apprenticeship. Congratulations Tai on climbing the Plant Baking career poutama!
Name: Fatai (Tai) Otumuli
Role: Muffin Plant Supervisor
Employer: Goodman Fielder Quality Bakers Auckland
What do you enjoy about working at Goodman Fielder?
What I enjoy the most is the fresh smell of baked bread and muffin splits flavours that we produce. I also enjoy the people. I have a great team who enjoy working with each other. It makes work enjoyable and a great place to be.
What’s been your career path to get to your current role?
I started at Quality Bakers as an Adecco Temp worker and was first assigned to Dispatch as a cleaner. At that time we were preparing for an audit. From there, I moved on to working on the Dispatch Line Pick and Pack. I then moved from Dispatch to Production as a cleaner again (I was a good cleaner lol!). This got my foot in the door to be a part of the Plant 2 production team producing Vogels.
After learning the process for mixing and baking dough and learning to operate the machinery, I was offered a full-time position. I began to do the classification levels in production and gained more experience that enabled me to become the Lead Operator of my plant. From there I was given the chance to do the Apprenticeship in Baking which opened a whole lot of doors. During this time, QBA was installing a new Muffin Splits Plant and I was given a chance to experience different baking processes and lines. I also helped to test the machinery and train operators. This ultimately resulted in me transferring plants to become a lead operator at the Muffin Plant.
After completing improvement projects and with Supervisors leaving, I was given the role of Muffin Plant Supervisor based on the dayshift. Now I have moved to my current role as the night shift Supervisor leading a team of nine and completing my Apprenticeship in Baking (3-Year course).
What have been the 3 most important things you’ve learned along the way?
- HARD WORK PAYS OFF! Always work hard and put 110% into everything you do no matter what the job is, because hard work does not go unnoticed and you will reap the rewards!
- ALWAYS ASK! Opportunities come to those who seek them.
- MAKE WORK FUN! I’ve learnt that in a fun environment, morale is high which translates to the work and product produced. Positivity is infectious resulting in happy people and happy people make products with love!
How did participating in Upskills training support your learning journey?
Participating in training with Upskills opened doors for me. It gave me the chance to learn different skills which we can apply to the workplace and how we can always improve it. This gave me a chance to do an improvement project and present to not only my managers but also to the Board of Directors for the company. I had a chance to meet and talk with people at the top of the company command chain. It also helped me gain my Apprenticeship in Baking and taught me different management styles (Gung Ho) which I could apply to my daily work life and at home.
What advice do you have to others looking to climb the career ladder?
My advice to others looking to climb will be the same as what I have learnt along the way. See my three tips above.
Tell us about one of your role models
My role models are my parents! They migrated from Tonga to give us a better opportunity in life. Working hard day-in-day-out to provide for my siblings and me, always inspired me. This is where I get my work ethic from. I pass this on to my kids as well.
Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?
In five/ten years I still want to be at Quality Bakers working with my teams up-skilling in more technical aspects of baking and operating. I want to assist in coming up with new products to trial and produce and also just to promote my trade Plant Baking!
If an opportunity presents itself – take it with open arms because you will never know where it might lead you!