Australian Pioneer Pistachio Company branches into engineering internships to conduct trials

Posted by Richard Cowley on 10 August 2015

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The Australian Pioneer Pistachio Company (APPC) is one of the latest Adelaide businesses to make use of an initiative which helps ‘grow’ young professionals.

Mr Grant Birrell, CEO of Nut Producers Australia was quick to see the advantages of offering an internship to talented Navitas Professional graduates, highly educated young professionals who could bring new ideas and skills to his business, while undergoing a training plan.

“It’s a win-win situation” said Mr Birrell.

“We needed someone to assist with the arrangements to set up test and production equipment to conduct pistachio dry hulling trials and compare that information with existing wet hulling systems, during the 2014 pistachio harvest season.

“We’d heard about the Navitas Professional Year (PY) program where young engineers go on an industry placement for three months, and wanted to give it a go,” he said.

Lide Tong (pictured right) is an engineering graduate from the University of Adelaide who undertook the internship as part of the Navitas post-university, professional development course.

Majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace, Lide said it was ‘great’ to be able to put the research skills he’d learnt at university to practical use.

“While I was on placement I was able to really apply what I’d been learning about, to real-world working situations,” Lide said.

“My research included: 

  • Conducting trials with pistachio dry hulling
  • Conducting trials to compare wet hulling with dry hulling
  • Analysing results of dry hulling and wet hulling trials
  • Evaluating the commercial benefits of dry hulling versus wet hulling
  • Assisting with the arrangements to set up test equipment and production equipment to conduct pistachio drying trials during the 2014 pistachio harvest season
  • Conducting drying trials to determine relationships between nut fill, heat, humidity, airflow on effective nut split and drying performance
  • Analysing results from the drying trials
  • Evaluating the optimal commercial drying arrangements
  • Following the 2014 harvest season, conducting analyses and trials with pistachio sorting to optimize production effectiveness and efficiencies.”

Mr Birrell lauded the way Lide had handled the placement, and the way he had settled into the regional lifestyle.

“Lide proved to be very genial and easy going and got along with everyone on-site at Robinvale,” he said.

“He was also a good self-starter and totally professional in his work, I’m very happy with the results Lide has put forward and we’ll be considering other Navitas young professionals for future trials and research opportunities” he concluded.

Author: Richard Cowley
Internship Placement Coordinator
M:  0448 064 755


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