About Us

Industry Advisory Committee

VFITB operates an industry advisory committee which enables us to draw expertise directly from industry. The primary purpose of the committee is to identify and establish policy positions and advice on key issues with respect to industry and training and to make recommendations to the VFITB Executive Committee. The IAC committee is also encouraged to identify issues and initiate positions relevant to various industry sectors where specific issues arise.

Industry reference groups are formed to act as a source of advice on issues as they arise. Findings are reported to the other Industry Advisory Committee members.

Through active participation, members can help shape and support the skill development needs of the food processing industries' workforce as well as enhancing personal and professional skills. Please contact VFITB if you would like more information on becoming involved.

Currently the following organisations are represented on VFITB's Industry Advisory Committee by:

Tom Hale AMWU logo

Tom Hale (Chair)

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union


Tom Hale is currently the Assistant Secretary at the AMWU. He heads up the Food & Confectionery Division and has been working in the food field since 2000. He is keen to see food processing personnel develop their skills for career advancement and job satisfaction.

Leanne McPherson Turi Foods logo

Leanne McPherson (Deputy Chair)

Turi Foods


Leanne has worked in the Poultry Industry for 25 years as a HR Generalist and now OH&S Manager. She manages all the training for 6 sites for Turi Foods from Livestock to Cheese. Everyone at the Geelong site has completed or are in the process of completing Certificate II or III in Food Processing. The Farming personnel have completed Certificate 111 in Agriculture. She also worked with the Gordon on an interactive approach to Food Industry communication and safety. The package was called 'How do you know?'

Barrie Chalkley AMIEU logo

Barrie Chalkley (Executive Committee Member)

Australian Meat Industry Employees Union


Barrie Chalkley has worked in the Meat Industry for over 16 years undertaking an array of different roles. Barrie has previously represented the AMIEU as a Health and Safety Representative. Barrie has been involved with the Committee of Management as an observer for 13 years and is joining the organisers to support the members in abattoirs at Stawell, Geelong, Nathalia, Echuca, Cobram, Diamond Valley Pork.

BIAV logo

John Bowyer (Executive Committee Member)

Baking Industry Association of Victoria


John is currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of the Baking Industry Association of Victoria.

Amanda Solly Mars logo

Amanda Solly

Mars Petcare Australia.


Amanda is currently the P&O Manager – Supply at Mars Petcare Australia. She also sits on the national AgriFood Skills Australia Food and Beverages Standing Committee. Prior to working at Mars she worked for Murray Goulburn Cooperative and she was a Senior Industry Consultant at Wodonga Institute of TAFE, and has also worked extensively in the private sector in Employee Relations and ran her own business. She has a Masters Degree in HR Management from Charles Sturt University.

Andrew Pajic Bakers Delight logo

Andrew Pajic

Bakers Delight


Andrew's role involves overseeing the training of all new Bakers Delight Franchisee's in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia. He usually has around 20 trainees at any one time. He works on special projects and on other training, particularly e-learning, for deployment to the entire network.

Mani Iyer Dairy Australia

Mani Iyer

Dairy Australia


Mani has 35 years experience in various roles throughout the Dairy Industry. Mani completed a PhD in Food Technology at Massey University in New Zealand, in 1987. His research was on ultrafiltration in cheese-making to improve yield and quality of cheese. He taught Dairy Technology for The University of Melbourne. His current role at Dairy Australia revolves around building capability in dairy manufacturing, and encouraging product innovation. He chairs the Manufacturing Advisory Committee and has strong links with DIAA and AIFST.

Kristine Manser DIAA logo

Kristine Manser

Dairy Industry Association of Australia


Kristine Manser has been Federal Secretary/National Executive Officer for the Dairy Industry Association of Australia for many years. She primarily manages the corporate affairs responsibilities and assists with major annual projects such as awards and conferences. The DIAA is one of the oldest industry associations in Australia having its roots in the Butter Factories' Managers Association which began in the 1890s. The DIAA represents individual members involved in post farm-gate activities of the dairy industry and its mission is to promote excellence in the Australian dairy industry by providing a forum for communication, continuing education, professional growth, recognition and fellowship for all members, sectors and participant organisations involved with the dairy industry.

Michael Plarre Ferguson Plarre Baekhouses logo

Michael Plarre

Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses


Michael has been the Production Manager of this family owned company since 1988.

Brian Neylon McCain

Brian Neylon



Brian has been at McCain Foods since 2005 having moved from New Zealand in 2001. Brian previously worked for Saizeriya Japanese company making Italian food items, like soups, meat patties, sauces. Brian's career has been in HR predominantly.

Tim Kennedy NUW logo

Tim Kennedy

National Union of Workers


Tim Kennedy has served as the Victorian Secretary of the NUW since May 2010.

Daniel Cox Nestlé logo

Daniel Cox



Daniel is the HR Manager at Nestle Campbellfield. Daniel has been at Nestle since 2007.

Jeremy Harrison Ridley Agri Products logo

Jeremy Harrison

Ridley Agri Products


Jeremy has been with the Ridley company for nearly 16 years and started out in the mill environment. He then moved into the ISO/ HACCP Quality program. Over the last 10 years he has been actively involved with getting 120 employees through Certificate 2 and 3 in Food Processing at eleven mills in South Australia and Victoria. He also provides on going refresher training to meet the growing demands of customers, around industry standards like "Feedsafe".


Copyright Victorian Food Industry Training Board © 2012