How far would you move to take up a new career opportunity? After achieving his degree in Dairy Technology, Ryan moved nearly 7,000 km from Scotland to Bahrain to take a Line Leader role.
Ryan is originally from Dumfries in Scotland, but now lives in an apartment in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. He enjoys a relaxed lifestyle and has always been into playing computer games and now that he has moved far away from home, gaming is proving essential to stay in contact with friends and family.
From temp to perm Machine Operator
Ryan officially joined Arla in 2017, having been an agency worker for four years during which he worked in almost every department at Lockerbie Creamery in Scotland.
“Coming into the role of operating a machine known as the ‘debox’ machine was not new to me as I had been supporting this line for several months. The machine uses lasers to open and remove boxes of cheese which I then inspected to ensure the blocks were of high standard and quality. From here they were sent to our cutting line to be cut and packed for customers,” Ryan explains.
“I was already familiar with the team, and they were grateful to have me on board," Ryans explains.
I felt great pride in the responsibility I had working as an Arla employee to ensure the products I was working with were up to Arla’s high standards. It was a fantastic entry level role for me.
New learnings of dairy technology
The following year, Ryan joined the three-year Eden Dairy Technologist programme at Reaseheath College, which meant he had to balance part time at school and working at the dairy.
“The team at Lockerbie are very supportive for those who are on the Eden programme and gave me time to carry out any college work required. I felt there was a good balance between college and work, not only for completing assignments but applying the learnings from college to my work,” he says.
“Eden showed me so much more to not only Arla but the dairy industry as a whole. The start to finish process from what happens at a farm to the logistics of getting the product to the final consumer. I learned so much about dairy equipment, the science of what occurs to the product inside silos, pipework and how simple changes in the process can drastically alter the characteristics of a product.”
Where is Bahrain?
After achieving his degree in Dairy Technology, Ryan saw the advert for production line leads and thought to himself: “Where is Bahrain?”
“I went home and looked it up because I had no clue. I spent 4-5 hours researching and watching videos, vloggers, researching Arla’s history of being there. It was such a different place on the other side of the globe. I thought – why not? This place looks fantastic.”
This was a bold move as Ryan had never been outside of the UK and he knew it would bring a whole new culture he would need to learn and adjust to.
“Being in Bahrain has changed my view on the Middle East and I look forward to making this place my second home. Applying for this role and now being here is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.”
Leading a dairy team
In his Line Leader role, Ryan usually starts his day with a tour of the department, getting feedback as to how the nightshift ran to see if there are any issues that need escalating.
“At our morning meeting, myself, other line leaders, quality, health and safety and the Continuous Improvement team review how the previous 24hours has run. For example: Did we reach our target for the lines, if not why? What issues did we experience? How much time was lost?” Ryan explains and continues:
“We can pass this data onto our area specialist who will work on solutions with either myself or the relevant line leader, including the team running the line for input and suggestions.
"The team I work with has adapted well to having me as their leader, and it is absolutely fantastic to be engaged in a site that has over 15 different nationalities. So much culture, enthusiasm and teamwork," he says.