Wednesday, 20 January 2016 16:55

Waikato woman wins poultry award

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Dahook Azzam, 2015 Poultry Trainee of the Year (right), receives her award from PIANZ Chairman, Adrian Revell. Dahook Azzam, 2015 Poultry Trainee of the Year (right), receives her award from PIANZ Chairman, Adrian Revell.

Waikato's Dahook Azzam regards her job at an Inghams Enterprises meat chicken breeder farm as an ideal opportunity to combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience.

And her enthusiasm for her new career in a new country has played a key role in her recent win of the Poultry Trainee of the Year Award for 2015.

The award is given each year to the top-performing trainee in all of the training courses run by the poultry industry in cooperation with the Primary Industry Training Organisation (PrimaryITO).

Dahook is currently an assistant farm manager whose role includes daily feeding, watering and environmental checks of the birds as well as farm and staff management and data entry.

"It is a very good combination" she says. "I have the hands-on experience of being a worker with some responsibilities as a manager, so it is a very useful and practical thing for my career."

Originally from Jordan, where she gained a Master's degree in animal science and then worked as a science teacher, Dahook immigrated to New Zealand two years ago with her husband and three children.

After she began work at a privately-owned meat chicken farm her work ethic and determination caught the eye of Inghams and led to the offer of her current role.

Dahook says Inghams' good reputation in the breeding and rearing area of the chicken supply chain was a definite drawcard.

Dahook's decision to undertake a Level 3 National Certificate course in Poultry Husbandry was the next step. The one-year course is aimed at personnel currently in or progressing towards supervisory or management roles and comprises a mix of on-the-job training, written assessments and attendance at a block course.

Dahook says the study and training experience boosted her professional knowledge and confidence and encouraged her commitment to achieving high standards. She is now looking to study at Level 4.

Tanya Ingram, Dahook's course coordinator at Primary ITO, says "Dahook is a very worthy winner of the 2015 Poultry Trainee of the Year Award. During the Level 3 classroom theory days she impressed everyone with her contribution to class discussions and enthusiasm, and her course marks reflected this."

Dahook's managers at Inghams also commend her accuracy, determination and commitment to improve herself as she moves into her new role of managing breeder chickens.

As part of her award, Dahook travelled to Auckland to meet the PIANZ Board and attend a lunch at which she was the guest of honour.

"The Poultry Trainee of the Year Award reflects the industry's strong commitment to training and education," says Michael Brooks, executive director of the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ).

"A highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce is vital for the growth and profitability of the industry. It is notable that the poultry sector has the highest number of personnel with Primary ITO qualifications compared with any other agricultural sector."

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