Northern exposure leads to increasing exports for Golden North ice cream

You would be hard pressed to find someone in South Australia who doesn’t enjoy the creamy taste of Golden North ice cream. However, the local market is only so big, and when the new SA owners came together 10 years ago the company’s key growth strategy was to look outside of their current postcode.

Trevor Pomery their director of marketing took on the additional responsibility for export sales, while the sales director expanded his focus to interstate sales.

Both streams have been a success and Golden North is now available in independent supermarkets across all Australian states and overseas, as well as through the foodservice market. Exporting to China, Malaysia, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Nauru, Golden North is also in the process of finalising a new deal that will eclipse the current markets.

Golden North was recently voted Australia’s best ice cream maker for the second year running by a Canstar Blue survey.

“Australia is the ‘green food bowl’ for Asia,” Trevor says. “We have a reputation for being a clean, green supplier of food with good food security. Putting ‘Australian Made’ on the products is akin to adding a tick of approval.”

Trevor says most of the export deals have come about as a result of attending trade shows that have been held in Asia.

“Unfortunately, taking samples of ice cream with you when travelling is particularly difficult,” he says. “Even more so when visiting warm countries. I often think to myself how much easier it would be if I could just put a few samples in my carry-on luggage. But, ice cream needs to be kept at between -18C and -20C, so it’s a bit harder than that.”

The product sold to China uses the same recipe as the product consumers buy here. For the Chinese market, Golden North has also launched a green tea flavour, conducting taste tests with first-year Chinese university students living in SA in order to get the right balance.

“The most popular line we have for sale in China is the 125ml individual serve vanilla ice cream,” Trevor says. “Food shopping in China is done very differently than how we do it in Australia. Not everyone owns a refrigerator, so often ingredients are purchased on the day a meal is to be made and eaten. It’s not surprising that the individual serves are popular.”

Golden North’s marketing director Trevor Pomery says China has been a big export focus for the popular ice cream products.

Some historians believe that ice cream was actually invented in China, though it has only become popular there in recent years.

“Ice cream is certainly becoming more and more popular in China,” Trevor says. “Our sales continue to creep up and we are happy with the way our export market has grown slowly and steadily.”

Even with the increase in their market, Golden North is firmly rooted in their hometown of Laura, in the state’s Mid-North.

“Laura is our home – it’s where it all started,” Trevor says.

The regional town of Laura has been the home of Golden North since the 1920s.

The company began in 1880 when William Bowker and his family began selling milk and vegetables from their property. Later, in 1923 they began making ice cream there.

“The original homestead is still located on the property where our factory is,” Trevor says. “All our infrastructure is there. All our knowledge is there. Why would we move anywhere else.”

Golden North employs about 60 people at the factory, which in a township of 550 people is a large percentage of the eligible workforce. Many of the employees have been with the company for a long time.

“Our research and development manager, for example, has been with the company for 40 years,” Trevor says. “Our people and their expertise are located in Laura, so that’s where we are staying.”

Recent investments have been made to the factory to improve efficiencies and upgrade equipment such as the churns and freezers. This has allowed Golden North to increase production to cater for future growth.

Golden North Giant Twins are among the brand’s most popular products.

The raw ingredients used by Golden North are largely supplied by growers in SA’s northern areas, and Trevor says the company consciously supports other local businesses including for transportation, and packaging.

“Operating a national ice cream business out of Laura is challenging and while we encourage South Australians to buy local, we make sure we lead by example,” Trevor says.

Golden North has again been rated Australia’s number one ice cream following an independent customer survey by Canstar Blue. This is the second year in a row Golden North has won the consumer award.

“There are lots of ways to make ice cream, but we still believe the best way to do it is with fresh milk and fresh cream,” Trevor says. “Some call it the old-fashioned way, but we think it’s the best way. Importantly, we also don’t use any palm oil in our products (for environmental reasons) and our products are gluten and nut free.”

The simple formula is clearly a winner, and the Golden North taste is one which continues to gain appreciation the world over.

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Artificial intelligence a game-changer for future jobs

From complex software systems that sort through medical data, to drones that monitor crop health, South Australian industries are embracing the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and cutting edge technologies.

International AI expert Dr John Flackett says SA is well placed to adopt AI and machine learning in health care, defence and agriculture sectors, providing new job pathways for future generations.

According to Dr Flackett, an AI researcher and co-founder of start-ups koolth and AiLab, we’re ready for the transformation but need to ensure we have policy and regulation in place.

“We have a really forward thinking start-up economy in SA and we have people interested in innovation,” he says.

“There are some fine opportunities for using AI, if we look at space, agriculture, tourism and healthcare. Having doctors look at hundreds, even thousands of x-ray images to try and spot cancers or health issues, when we can train machines to do that work in a fraction of the time.

“But I think it’s really important that when we apply AI to sectors such as healthcare we don’t take the human out of the link totally. When we’re using AI tools and techniques we have to think carefully about the way we’re using the technology.”

Dr John Flackett’s Adelaide-based AiLab assists individuals, academia, industry, communities and governments worldwide on how to navigate the complex field of AI.

The gradual take-up of new-tech is slowly making its way into workplaces, with the demand for AI talent set to grow in the state as entrepreneurship and innovation become key career opportunities in the future.

A number of industries and businesses are already thriving with AI and machine learning technologies including Adelaide-based company Presagen which recently raised $4.5 million in seed funding to market its AI medical technology that improves fertility outcomes for IVF couples.

The product, Life Whisperer, uses a cloud-based analysis platform that improves the accuracy of healthy embryo selection in IVF treatments.

AI-driven technologies are also emerging in the agricultural industry, with drones carrying sensors and infrared mapping capabilities used to assess crop health and give a clearer picture of crop yield.

Dr Flackett, also a software engineer, has more than 20 years’ experience in AI, achieving a PhD in AI (machine learning and natural language processing) in 2005. Migrating to Australia from the UK around the same time, he co-founded smart web specialist company koolth before embarking on his second business venture, AiLab, with co-founder Emma Berry.

Dr Flackett regularly runs AI workshops and presents at events in the UK, Europe, the US and Australia to help demystify the world of AI and educate people on how it can empower businesses and transform how we live. The role of AiLab is to assist individuals, academia, industry, the community and government across the globe on how to navigate the complex field of AI and stay up to date with relevant progressions via education programs.

Dr Flackett says the field of AI – a term coined in the 1950s – is thriving “because humans have always wanted to automate tasks and build machines that can help”.

“AI as a field is really about that lofty goal of ‘can we build machines that are as intelligent as us?’ That’s called artificial general intelligence,” he says.

While Dr Flackett believes that the take-up of AI will be a huge disrupter to industry and workplaces, the key is to “not take the human out of it”.

AI is used in the ag-tech industry through drones that can assess crop health and give a clearer picture of crop yield.

“Personally, my approach is to embrace the advances and work with the technology. But you can’t take the human out of the process. You can’t get that personal customer experience with AI, so we need to be looking at AI to help inform our decisions, free up our time to interact with people and collaborate with others.

“The thing about automation and AI is that it drives a collaborative approach to jobs. For instance, the development of smart drones … in order to build such a system, many companies need to collaborate. If we’re producing AI-based image recognition technology we probably wouldn’t want to build the actual drone so we’d collaborate with a company that builds drones and then we’d supply the AI software skillset.

“I think that’s what we’ll start to see around future jobs, those skills sets of people being able to collaborate and communicate.”

Dr Flackett, who recently founded and organised Adelaide’s Artificial Intelligence meetup series, sponsored by AiLab and the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, says more work is to be done to encourage more investment into AI in Australia, and to develop policy and regulation.

He says SA is already ahead in nurturing talent for transforming industries as we have a highly skilled workforce that is ready to transfer its skills into emerging industries such as space and ag-tech.

Dr Flackett also explains that future employment pathways for today’s young people are likely to be varied and take more than one route.

“I refer to future jobs rather than future careers,” he says. “The career path that we’re used to is disappearing … according to the FYA (Foundation for Young Australians) people leaving school are going to have 17 different jobs, that whole career for life is virtually gone now.

“What we need to do is leverage the skills we already have, and transfer these skills to a rapidly changing workplace.”

Industry in focus: Careers of the Future

Throughout the months of May and June, future careers in South Australia will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

Embracing innovation, creativity and an understanding of building quality partnerships with technology is key to ensuring career opportunities in the future. SA is taking necessary steps to equip future generations with the skills for future careers and current workforces to transition to the future industries.

Read more Careers of the Future stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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SA’s chief entrepreneur helps new talent take flight

An early career as an elite air force fighter pilot led to the state’s Chief Entrepreneur building a global defence company with 700 employees, now he is helping the state’s next generation find their wings.

“If young people want to see themselves having a high-flying career they can go and work for a really large company,” Jim Whalley says. “Or they can create their own careers and their own companies from here that hopefully will go global.”

The chair and co-founder of defence company Nova Systems believes the state is the ideal training ground for young South Australians to choose the career path that involves building their own businesses. This, he says, is a state founded on a spirit of entrepreneurship along with social and religious freedom.

“Look at the Smith brothers for example, they flew from London to Australia (in 1919) but had to find their own finance, source their own aircraft, it was entrepreneurship to get the aircraft here but also to get support for the project,” Jim says.

“I think if you look at the number of Nobel Laureates per capita in SA, if we were a country we’d sit somewhere between Sweden and Switzerland, we’re somewhere in the top 10%. This is just the sort of spirit that we want, we’ve got the capability, the technical support.”

And Jim says there is strong financial support from the State Government.

SA’s Chief Entrepreneur Jim Whalley says the state has strong support for start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovation.

Budding entrepreneurs have access to funding for start-ups, space innovation, there is an export accelerator and venture capital fund along with precincts being created across Adelaide for start-ups that help accelerate them to commercialisation.

The new Lot Fourteen precinct on the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site in the city for example is leading the way as it is transformed into a neighbourhood entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Jim says the idea is to support innovative ideas and develop a state that is resilient.

“I’m a big believer in chaos creating an opportunity, the more change there is the more opportunity for companies that can think on their feet and enforce development and change.”

He believes jobs of the future “will be unpredictable” with a strong digital focus and the next generation is likely to change their employment paths more regularly.

“Coding for example will, I think, be something everyone will need to understand, it will be part of the curriculum like other languages,” he says. “Those who think and perform well in the future will need to be comfortable with high levels of uncertainty, to be able to think disruptively and think differently and think entrepreneurially.”

His own company Nova Systems started in SA as a defence company and now also has three offices in the United Kingdom, one in Singapore, Norway and Ireland. It has contracts working on Future Submarines, the Air Warfare Destroyers, and Joint Strike Fighter project but also in other industries including oil, gas and mining projects.

Jim Whalley is a former air force fighter pilot and test pilot.

Jim says he stepped down as CEO a few years ago after asking staff member Greg Hume “do you want to have a go at running the company?”

“It sent a very clear message to the middle management team that they could be CEO one day and whilst the company was a private company you didn’t have to be a member of the family to be a senior manager. We’ve got about 700 staff members now and I would like to reach the 1000 mark in the next two to three years.”

Jim was made the state’s first Chief Entrepreneur last year, and in his role is supporting a $6.3 million pilot program for the state’s public high schools that was created by the Entrepreneurship Commercialisation and Innovation Centre at the University of Adelaide.

It involves creating five specialist entrepreneurial high schools with State Government backing and “is about kids that have a little bit of entrepreneurial spirit getting a little bit of a leg up”.

“Basically it’s about giving them a bit of freedom to start businesses through courses, experimentation, to go and write a business plan and complete some leadership courses, to have a financial understanding about the things you need to know,” he says.

“It’s about coming up with an idea and knowing how to act on it.”

Jim thinks the environment is right for the state to continue building on its commitment to a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem that will support a dynamic economy.

“We live in one of the best countries and best states in the world. We want for very little and and we have people who are more than capable of operating on a world stage,” he adds.

Industry in focus: Careers of the Future

Throughout the months of May and June, future careers in South Australia will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

Embracing innovation, creativity and an understanding of building quality partnerships with technology is key to ensuring career opportunities in the future. SA is taking necessary steps to equip future generations with the skills for future careers and current workforces to transition to the future industries.

Read more Careers of the Future stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Doors open for opportunities in future careers

From the defence sector and cyber security to artificial intelligence and robotics – South Australia’s future industries are the great engines of change.

It’s a serious but exciting transition away from the once-thriving auto-manufacturing sector and towards these prosperous future industries that will lead to an increase in demand for skilled workers.

SA businesses to have already found solutions and strengths in our growing future industries include Axiom Precision Manufacturing, which once specialised in automotive parts manufacturing but has now transitioned into design and manufacturing for the aerospace, defence, rail, mining and health industries.

Two former car making factories – the Mitsubishi plant (now Tonsley) in Adelaide’s south and the Holden site in Adelaide’s north – have been reawakened into innovation districts and business parks home to thriving start-ups and global giants taking their products to the world.

But as our state continues its trajectory towards a new and brighter future, we must equip our children and students with the necessary skills and tools to navigate future workplaces.

Axiom Precision Manufacturing’s operations supervisor Shannon Wride started as an apprentice in 2006 with the company that focused on work for the automotive industry. Now Axiom works for defence, aerospace, mining, rail and medical companies.

The future success of our state rests in the hands of young people and we – both now and in the future – must embrace change, innovation and entrepreneurship to allow the next generation’s workforce to thrive.

Throughout the months of May and June, Brand South Australia is exploring Careers of the Future as part of the successful I Choose SA campaign.

We’ll be exploring what SA industries could look like in 20 years’ time, what steps businesses, industry and government are taking to prepare us for the future, and what skill requirements our children need for future workplaces.

Here at Brand SA News we’ll bring you a series of news articles on Careers of the Future and share the stories of people who are leading in fields of artificial intelligence, defence, health and ageing, entrepreneurialism, STEM education, advanced manufacturing and the space industry.

First up, we’ll bring you an interview with the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Board CEO Professor Martin Westwell, who will share his thoughts on the importance of growing and fostering future jobs through the curriculum and early STEM education.

We’ll also engage with Dr John Flackett, an expert in artificial intelligence (AI) who runs AiLab, a business assisting other businesses as well as academia, industry, community and government to navigate the complex field of AI and where it will take us in the future.

Throughout our exploration of Careers of the Future, it will become apparent how SA is preparing for the changing tides in industry and setting itself up to take on such projects as the $90 billion Naval Shipbuilding Program and the Australian Space Agency’s establishment at Lot Fourteen.

An artist’s impression of innovation hub Lot Fourteen, once fully redeveloped. Photo: Renewal SA.

Our entrepreneurial ecosystem is set to strengthen, with SA the first in the nation to trial a new entrepreneur’s visa that aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs and investors to the state.

Lot Fourteen innovation district, the site of the former Royal Adelaide Hospital, will be a hotspot for future jobs and home to growing industries such as AI, cyber security, smart sensor networks, robotics, big data, defence, and the creative industries. The Australian Space Agency will also be established there, including the new co-operative research centre for smart satellite technologies.

Our future businesses are likely to be smaller and more nimble, with technologies such as blockchain, augmented reality, virtual reality and machine learning changing how they operate by making them more efficient.

A report released in 2017 by the Foundation for Young Australians revealed that a teenager today is more likely to have 17 different jobs and more than five careers in their lifetime. So how do we prepare them for this shift and for future work?

Keen to learn more? Come along to Brand South Australia’s Careers of the Future Industry Briefing on Monday May 13, 4–5.30pm, at Lot Fourteen. Guests will hear from Minister for Innovation and Skills David Pisoni, The NeuroTech Institute founder Dr Fiona Kerr, cyber security specialist for Naval Group Nathan Morelli and Renewal SA (Lot Fourteen) director of place and marketing, Rachel Walsh. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Industry in focus: Careers of the Future

Throughout the months of May and June, future careers in South Australia will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

Embracing innovation, creativity and an understanding of building quality partnerships with technology is key to ensuring career opportunities in the future. SA is taking necessary steps to equip future generations with the skills for future careers and current workforces to transition to the future industries.

Read more Careers of the Future stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Instant smoothies look to become export success

The desire to create an instant smoothie at home with the healthiest ingredients sparked an idea to invent a disposable smoothie in a cup – and this South Australian innovation is now set to become an export success.

Brett Gresham quickly devised an instant fruit and nutrition-enriched smoothie recipe in a receptacle that only requires the addition of water and a 30-second blitz, but it took much longer before he had the right commercial product to take to market.

His Naked Blendz smoothie cups are now making big inroads in the hospitality industry, but only after a prolonged three-year journey.

Naked Blendz founder Brett Gresham had a smoothie stall at this year’s Tasting Australia eating and drinking festival.

“The whole business hinged on perfecting a simple innovation that enables unblended smoothies containing snap-frozen real food to be sold, blended, served and consumed all from the same disposable cup,” says Brett. “There is no preparation required, almost no clean-up or bench space needed, and the drink contains no added sugar.”

The unique aspect of this product is an adaptor that connects cups to Nutribullet blenders, but while the intellectual property for the Naked Blendz Design Registered Cup Lock was developed in 2016, it took two years to work through seven prototypes before arriving at the current efficient design.

Brett’s next great challenge was having this product manufactured in SA, and this also took time. He approached several established manufacturing firms but was turned away because they “preferred not to take a risk with an untested product”.

Instead, Brett was able to have the adaptors made at Orana Australia, whose workshop supports people in SA with disabilities. Brett says he’s delighted by what the Orana workers have been able to produce.

“It all ties together now as a very strong and cohesive SA success story,” he says.

The spinach, pear and hemp seed smoothie before being blended.

The Naked Blendz mix of frozen fruit pieces and powders comes in five different flavour combinations – cinnamon with fruit and walnut, super green (with spinach and hemp seed), banana choc (with maca root), berrylicious (with acai), mixed tropical fruits and true protein (a vegan blend with prebiotic multi fibre).

The key to ensuring the freshness of Naked Blendz’s fruit components is using ingredients that have undergone individual quick freezing, a popular method used in the food processing industry that ensures smaller ice crystals to prevent the molecular construction of ingredients from being destroyed.

To facilitate this, Brett is buying a large amount of fresh SA produce – especially pears, apples and spinach – but also needs to buy many tropical fruits from interstate, and a few imported goods – maca root, coconut and, strangely, banana.

“Australia doesn’t produce any individual quick frozen banana, and that’s an essential need for several of our products. Perhaps that’s an opportunity we’ve identified for another Australian company.”

The Naked Blendz factory.

With its technology and manufacturing logistics in place, Naked Blendz has taken flight. Members of the public got to taste the smoothies when Brett presented a Naked Blendz stand at Town Square throughout Tasting Australia, and sold through available stock on several days.

This month, the branded smoothie cups reached into Queensland, making the product available to hospitality businesses across all Australian states, resulting in about 500 cafés using Naked Blendz – and many hotel chains here and abroad are currently investigating this fast and convenient smoothie solution.

“The product has been making a significant transition beyond cafés since it was initially released,” says Brett. “It’s now being used in hospitals and aged care facilities. It’s in hotel kitchens, being used for breakfast menus, in the bars, and at poolside cocktail bars in resorts.”

Naked Blendz smoothies will hit retail stores within the next month, while plans for exports are on the horizon.

Brett anticipates that the product will take another significant leap in the next month, when Naked Blendz becomes available in retail stores. Trials are currently underway on a series of biodegradable cups that Brett wants to have in place for the launch of the retail range, which is slated for late August.

He also hopes these cups will have lids with sip-able spouts rather than having straws – “we’re hoping to lead the culture change with this in the smoothie market,” enthuses Brett – but looks like having to create lids of his own design.

“We’ve provided a quick and easy healthy alternative to sugar-laden beverages, and we’ve seen that this is exactly what consumers want,” he says. “Even though it took quite a while for us to perfect such a simple idea, it’s that simplicity which has made all the difference.”

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Meet the civil engineer helping build one of the world’s most challenging tunnelling projects in Himalayas

Bineshian Hoss’ career as a civil engineer has taken him to the four corners of the globe. One city, however, captured his heart. Adelaide became Bineshian’s adopted home nearly a decade ago… and the place he returns to in between his overseas engineer postings.

After more than 20 years working in design and construction roles, his latest position would challenge even the most experienced engineer – constructing a 300km length of tunnels in India’s Himalayan range.

Rumoured to be the highest railway bridge in the world, the J&K Railway Project is also the largest project ever recorded in India, connecting the Jammu and Kashmir regions across the mysterious, untouched majesty of the Himalayas.

The early stages of the project, which includes 103 tunnels and 62 bridges, have an estimated 15-year completion date – four of which, Bineshian has been central part of as head of consultancy and engineering with Swiss company, Amberg Engineering.

“Most areas don’t even have road access, so the evolution of the project is slow. It has to be. India is new to tunneling, both in knowledge and infrastructure. It’s maturing as the years go on, thankfully,” Bineshian says.

Tunneling is now considered as much science as it is art, and within the “young fold Himalayan Mountains”, there’s a high degree of rock strata through which the tunnel is being bored.

“Road accessibility, geology of the Himalayas, potential landslides, and insurgency constantly plague our momentum,” Bineshian says.

He is part of a revolving team of dozens of engineers working on the J&K Railway Project. As it stands, the completion date is loosely set for 2024 and is “certainly not a project for the faint of heart”.

Bineshian doesn’t fall into this category, always embracing the next journey his career takes him.

Originally Iranian-Australian, Bineshian admitted at The University of Western Australia to complete a Masters and Doctorate in Civil-Geotechnical Engineering.

An invitation to keynote at an industry lecture in Hahndorf introduced him to life in Adelaide. This spurred an immersive research period where he explored Adelaide’s key industries, economy and easy travel to countries he’d frequented.

“I liked how central it was. And given I have a young son, its safety and friendliness was important, too,” he explains. “It needed to fulfil all those lifestyle perks, while still being easy for me to travel in and out of.”

Shortly after this, Adelaide became Bineshian’s new home.

“I believe it’s the best city in Australia. The weather is perfect, the people are friendly and respectful of their community. It’s like no other city I’ve been to before,” he says.

Civil engineer Bineshian Hoss, right, is now working on the USBRL project – one of the most challenging railway projects in the Himalayas.

Bineshian has lived in Aberfoyle Park. Nowadays, he returns every quarter, given the demanding nature of the J&K Railway Project.

“I have to be on the ground in India a lot, especially over the past four years. But, Adelaide is still my base,” he says.

Bineshian’s long-term plans are to return to Adelaide full-time.

“There’s a lot of movement in the city and I believe the transportation sector will be next, particularly with infrastructure,” he says. “Every time I return home, there’s a new building in development. I’d love to be one of the local engineers they turn to when we need bridges, highways and tunnels.”

Bineshian is one of the growing number of expats who keep Adelaide within reach. The lifestyle is the shared consensus regarding the gravitational pull of Adelaide.

He believes developments in South Australia’s transport industry could position Adelaide as “the world’s best city” – an optimistic title, he acknowledges, but one he truly believes.

And we know who will put up his hand to pioneer a project with such vision and to fulfil his dream, of course… to live and work in Adelaide.

The Hello From SA network is sharing the stories of SA expats from around the world. Do you know a South Aussie living, working or learning abroad? Get in touch via the Hello From SA Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Hello from SA is the global community for South Australians living, working and learning interstate and abroad.

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SA an ideal model for Industry 4.0 transformation

South Australia is ripe for the challenge to progress as industry and employment enters a state of transformation. The closure of production line automotive manufacturing has signalled a new era, with a raft of local businesses swiftly embracing digital industrialisation as the Industry 4.0 technological revolution quickly gathers global momentum – and several progressive companies emerge as shining lights to lead the way.

This paints an optimistic picture for future jobs and industry opportunities in SA according to Professor John Spoehr, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research Impact) at Flinders University, and director of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute.

He has seen rapid change to the state’s business and employment landscape during the past three years, propelled by an understanding across local industry that it is now crucial to act swiftly. This is attracting new industry, fresh international investment, new types of employment and new opportunities to the state.

Realising that an employment vacuum could impose widespread economic damage to a city – with former automotive towns such as Detroit providing an ominous example – Prof Spoehr says Adelaide is proving itself a nimble adaptor of technological innovations to drive new industry.

Professor John Spoehr says Adelaide is adapting to technological innovations to drive new industry.

Running apace with international development levels is ensuring that more opportunities for high-skill, high-pay employment is already occurring.

“Any fears that a digitised workforce must imply a jobless future is not the reality facing SA’s workforce,” says Prof Spoehr.

“It’s a time of great possibility and progress, and SA can provide a model for successful industrial transformation in Australia.”

Prof Spoehr examines this as editor and co-writer of South Australia – State of Transformation, a new book that issues an independent assessment of SA’s current economic, social and political landscape, while also exploring options and policy needs to lay the strongest possible path ahead.

He points to the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies in manufacturing by such companies as Micro-X, based at the Tonsley Innovation District, which is manufacturing lightweight portable X-ray machines (primarily used in disaster zones and emergency situations).

It has quickly won international orders for its products, and to meet demand the company has employed and re-trained many former Holden workers, building on their skill set to quickly provide Micro-X with an experienced and capable hi-tech manufacturing workforce.

“Micro-X has been very clever to make best use of an already skilled workforce of former Holden employees, showing how to be nimble at harnessing local skills, people and resources,” says Prof Spoehr. “For a young company, it has a very bright future.”

Inside Micro-X’s manufacturing facility at Tonsley Innovation District, a former automotive factory. Photo: Micro-X.

Redarc at Lonsdale, which manufactures advanced electronics that specialise in increased towing safety for off-road and heavy vehicles, has been one of the state’s most enthusiastic adopters of Industry 4.0 manufacturing technology.

The company’s transformation during the past 18 months under chief executive Anthony Kittel has been remarkable, resulting in collaborative robots being part of a holistic manufacturing plant expansion.

“These companies are addressing technically complex problems, and as a consequence they are generating high-skill, knowledge intensive and high wage jobs,” says Prof Spoehr. “This is the form of employment that we need more of to help underpin high living standards in SA.”

SAGE Automation, a leader in systems integration, automation solutions and data services to industry, is working across a raft of different industries, including defence, mining, transportation, logistics, utilities and manufacturing. Prof Spoehr says SAGE is helping local companies to take advantage of the digital revolution.

He notes that SAGE’s location within the Tonsley Innovation District has been transformative for the company, providing great benefits through its proximity to other innovative tech companies along with Flinders University researchers and leading students, with whom it has entered numerous collaborations.

A bird’s eye view (Dec, 2017) of the former Elizabeth Holden site, which has now been transformed into Lionsgate Business Park.

“This shows that the collaborations between universities and companies should be stronger in SA, because this will help accelerate the uptake of innovations in industry – and this is the crucial step forward.”

These leading businesses are also guiding the transition from old manufacturing to dynamic new tech industries and specialist manufacturers at the Tonsley Innovation District and Lionsgate Business Park in Elizabeth, both former automotive manufacturing plants.

The success of these districts also points to a promising pathway for current development of a new hi-tech industry hub at Lot Fourteen, within the former Royal Adelaide Hospital site in Adelaide.

“It shows that strong commitment and vision can transform sites into advanced manufacturing precincts,” says Prof Spoehr.

“Manufacturing employment did grow in SA during 2018, but now there has to be double the support for emerging SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) to remain at the cutting edge of what is happening globally.

“Australia must be a champion of innovation in both our services and manufacturing sectors – and SA can play a leading role.”

Hello from SA is the global community for South Australians living, working and learning interstate and abroad.

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Strong future ahead for Adelaide’s international education sector

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced his national migration plan to ease the pressure on capital cities in the eastern states and support growth in the regions. StudyAdelaide CEO Karyn Kent explores how the changes could bring even more international students to study, live and work in South Australia and what this means for local businesses.

The outlook for Adelaide’s international education sector – and SA’s business community – has been boosted with the Australian Government’s release of its ‘Plan for Australia’s Future Population’.

As recently announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the plan features a range of measures to create better incentives to encourage new migrants to settle outside of Australia’s largest cities.

Included among these measures is an additional year in Australia for international students who have completed their studies at a regional campus of a higher education institution, lived in the region during their first post-study work visa and who wish to continue to live and work in the region.

The whole of SA, including Adelaide, is considered regional for migration purposes and the potential of that extra year will now be offered to existing and new international students in the state.

StudyAdelaide is a partnership between government and the education sector, promoting Adelaide to international students. We are delighted to see these changes and confident they will provide a significant additional incentive for even more international students to choose to study and live here.

It is great news for the SA economy given international education is our second largest export and was valued at $1.6 billion in 2017/18, with capacity to grow beyond the 38,000 international student enrolments we achieved in 2018.
It is also great news for SA businesses.

Students graduating with higher education qualifications can now work for a minimum of three years, giving local businesses extended access to their knowledge and skills which are in occupations of high demand, such as engineering, IT, commerce and health.

StudyAdelaide CEO Karyn Kent.

Many SA exporters, especially those in the wine sector (our largest export sector), have enjoyed great success employing international students and graduates.

International students deliver tangible benefits for these companies with their first-hand knowledge of target export markets, their language skills and their networks and contacts, to support and help deliver the export aspirations of our local businesses.

SA businesses can easily access these skills – the post-study visa (subclass 485) requires no employer sponsorship and international graduates are employed under the same conditions as an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

The Australian Government’s announcement builds on recent changes also announced by Immigration SA that benefit those international students who aspire to migrate, in recognition of the investment these students have made in an education here and the contribution they will make to the SA economy as a highly educated graduate. Many of these graduates go on to establish their own SA businesses, that in turn employ locals.

One of the founders of web and app developers PixelForce is originally from Hong Kong and now employs more than 25 people here in Adelaide. They developed the Sweat app for Adelaide’s fitness duo Kayla Itsines and Tobi Pearce, who were recently listed among Australia’s 250 richest people.

Nicho Teng from China studied at Glenunga International High School and Flinders University and has gone on to establish Haneco Lighting and Greaton, a property company that is developing the new Wirra Wirra five-star hotel and the Westin Hotel as part of the GPO redevelopment, which is set to open in 2022.

Deloitte Access Economics reported in 2018 that for every four international students in SA, one job is created.

These new jobs aren’t just limited to our education institutions who deliver Adelaide’s world-class education, they are spread throughout our economy.

In 2018 and 2019, four purpose-built student apartment buildings have been completed and another four are in the pipeline. Imagine the contribution to construction and ongoing operational jobs created by these alone.

Premier Steven Marshall has identified growing both international student numbers and our population as key priorities and, along with our members, StudyAdelaide looks forward to welcoming even more students here.

Together, these policies clearly add to SA’s significant appeal as a study destination for international students, alongside our world-class education institutions and vibrant, affordable lifestyle.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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Indigenous communities benefit from new native fruit yoghurt range

Two South Australian food producers have partnered to create a new yoghurt range incorporating native Australian produce, providing jobs and support for an indigenous community involved in the fruit picking.

Fleurieu Milk Company and Something Wild have joined forces to launch a range of native Australian fruit yoghurts featuring Kakadu plum, muntrie, Davidson plum and quandong – bush fruits that have been eaten for thousands of years.

Owned by the Motlop family, brothers Steven and Daniel, and fellow former AFL player Danyle Pearce, Something Wild supplies indigenous ingredients to restaurants and consumers, often engaging Aboriginal communities to help supply the produce.

The Kakadu plum yoghurt, made with Fleurieu Milk’s fresh milk and cream sourced from the Myponga area, was the first tub to launch in the range.

The native fruit yoghurt range is available at independent supermarkets, the Adelaide Central Market and selected farmer’s markets. Photo by Myles Quist.

The Kakadu plums – which have the highest vitamin C content of any fruit in the world – are picked by Aboriginal women in the Northern Territory community of Wadeye.

Something Wild director Danyle Pearce says the women receive an income from harvesting the wild fruit, which can be found growing in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

“The Wadeye ladies up there have an absolute abundance of Kakadu plum. The Kakadu plum is the most well known native fruit in Australia but there’s not really many resources going around about what to use it for,” he says.

“We have a sustainable ecosystem here in Australia … but I don’t think we’ve tapped into what we have here in our own backyard. You just have to have a look for it and you can find it. What we’ve done, the story behind it, it’s a great product and we hope people really get behind it.”

Once the plums are picked by the Wadeye women they are pureed and sent to Fleurieu Milk’s Myponga factory to be made into the 125g yoghurt tubs.

“We flew all the (Wadeye) ladies down here and we took them on a tour of Fleurieu Milk and showed them everything we’re doing with their fruit,” Danyle says. “They absolutely love the produce and love the final outcome.”

The other native fruits in the range – muntrie, quandong and Davidson plum – are also harvested by Something Wild from their native areas.

The muntries (small red and green berries) and the peach-like quandongs are gathered in SA, while the Davidson plums are sourced from Queensland where the fruit is grown.

Fleurieu Milk sales and marketing manager Clay Sampson says the native fruit yoghurt range is first of its kind in Australia and was born from a desire to incorporate bush food into an everyday product.

“We were looking at different yoghurt flavours … and obviously the yoghurt market is saturated. We wanted to do something totally different,” he says.

“We think it’s a great story in terms of cross promotion and the harvesting of the fruit with the indigenous community.”

The native fruit yoghurts are available in independent supermarkets in SA, the Fleurieu Milk and Something Wild stalls at the Adelaide Central Market, and farmer’s markets at the Adelaide Showground and Willunga.

The yoghurts are also distributed in the NT, with plans to take the product to other states such as WA in the future. Part of the proceeds of sales go to the Little Heroes Foundation.

Header image features Fleurieu Milk Company sales and business relations manager, Kym Koster, left, former AFL footballer and Little Heroes Foundation ambassador Tony Modra, Something Wild director Danyle Pearce, and Fleurieu Milk sales and marketing manager Clay Sampson at Something Wild’s Adelaide Central Market stall.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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SA a testbed for modern ageing solutions

South Australia has a global role to play in developing innovative products and services for an ageing population, says Adelaide-based Global Centre for Modern Ageing (GCMA) CEO Julianne Parkinson.

SA has the oldest population of all mainland Australian states, with the GCMA aiming to take the state to the forefront of modern ageing in Australia and the world.

With the proportion of Australians aged over 65 continuing to increase, due in part to higher standards of health care, businesses have a greater need to ready themselves to better understand this growing but diverse group.

Globally, people are now living for longer at unprecedented rates. Across the Asia Pacific, the population aged over 60 is set to more than double from 547 million to 1.3 billion by 2050.

Launched in October 2018, the GCMA provides a living laboratory (dubbed LifeLab), paired with research, insights and advisory services to businesses, organisations and government to help bust ageing myths and assist clients to develop better products, services and solutions to meet the needs and wants of those over 60.

The centre, based in the Tonsley Innovation District, is home to the LifeLab, a demonstration, usability and co-design facility that allows businesses, researchers and over-60s to co-design and validate new and innovative products and services to improve the quality of life and experiences for older people.

The LifeLab at the Global Centre for Modern Ageing.

A first of its kind in Australia, the LifeLab hosts innovative initiatives including developing solutions that increase mobility, reduce isolation, address nutritional needs and allow people to enjoy a better quality of life.

“The LifeLab network provides services at the demonstration facility and in a myriad of real-life settings. Complementing this, the GCMA’s research and insights capability allows organisations to access the facts to make informed decisions about customer and market opportunities,” says Julianne.

“Together these allow companies and other stakeholders to engage with older people in order to co-create and co-design what products should look and feel like. We can mobilise and scale our offering to assist clients locally, nationally and internationally – a great benefit to SA businesses with export markets and partnerships.

“What we see through our work is that older people are really guiding and informing every step of the way, organisations and their R&D partners. By leveraging the GCMA’s expertise with end users central to the co-design and co-creation, businesses will have improved insights and hence confidence that their product will be better received in market.”

At the head of LifeLab is executive director Veera Mustonen, who joined the team from Helsinki, Finland, as a smart city living lab expert. Veera is currently leading several co-design initiatives that explore how people can age well and continue being active participants in their community.

Residents at the Lendlease-owned Elliot Gardens retirement village in Port Elliot have welcomed an autonomous vehicle trial.

Each project involves a co-operative approach with over 60s included in the design, creation and trial of the initiatives. One example is the engagement to co-design with residents and others in the redevelopment of an aged care precinct in the regional town of Strathalbyn.

But that’s not all, the GCMA is also undertaking an explorative study on the roll out of an autonomous vehicle trial at a retirement village in SA’s Fleurieu Peninsula. The trial, in collaboration with the SA Government’s Future Mobility Lab, Regional Development Australia and leading autonomous vehicle manufacturer Aurrigo, involves studying the experiences of residents at the Lendlease-owned Elliot Gardens retirement village at Port Elliot who chose to travel around the village in a small driverless vehicle.

The battery powered ‘podzero’, which has been named ‘Elliot’, will be operating at 10km/h with a capacity of four passengers. Embracing a new way of moving around and allowing for greater social interaction between village residents, the trial will provide user feedback which is expected to contribute to determining the adoption and acceptance of new mobility solutions.

Lendlease Retirement Living managing director Tony Randello says the company is always looking for ways to make its villages more liveable.

Autonomous vehicle ‘Elliot’ allows residents increased mobility, allowing for greater social interaction.

“This trial may show us how technology could extend mobility and help our residents age in place, among friends and provide them a sense of freedom and independence,” he says.

“We also expect the trial will show that no matter how old you are, you can always embrace new technology into your lifestyle.”

But greater mobility is just one of the needs of our ageing population, with seniors also calling for easier food and food packaging solutions, support for isolation, new learning and training opportunities, and more guidance on transitioning into later stages of life.

Julianne says Asia Pacific countries are taking a collaborative approach to the ageing sector, with other countries reaching out to the GCMA for advice on businesses already developing innovative products and services for older people.

The GCMA also recently hosted senior international delegations from Malaysia, Sweden and China to share insights, opportunities and challenges of modern ageing.

“We know SA has a leading role to play in a global sense in how people transition throughout all of their life’s course.  Many of the opportunities and challenges are universal,” Julianne says.

“It’s world class and pioneering work that is proudly being undertaken with the important support of many.”

Industry in focus: Health

Throughout the month of April, the state’s health industry will be explored as part of I Choose SA.

South Australia’s health sector is among the best in the world, renowned for developing new and advanced technologies and research outcomes. Our health industry infrastructure is world-class, providing new pathways and job opportunities, as well as a growing potential for health tourism.

Read more health stories here.

Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.

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