Bega factory 'breaking down barriers'

Bega Cheese Koroit open new breastfeeding room to remove barriers for women

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"We want to encourage females to apply, you'll be supported"

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The tide is turning in dairy factories as more women join the workforce.

Bega Cheese is embracing this change and have unveiled a new breastfeeding room at its Koroit factory.

Fitted out with two comfortable feeding chairs, curtains for privacy, fresh towels, a microwave and tea and coffee station, the room is about "removing barriers and facilitating choice", says Bega quality operations officer Nichaela King.

"Basically what we want to say to the area is that Bega is a female-friendly workplace and we want to encourage females to apply, you'll be supported."

Breaking barriers: Bega worker Emma McElgunn with son Fred, 9 months, at the new breastfeeding room at the Koroit factory. Picture: Mark Witte

Breaking barriers: Bega worker Emma McElgunn with son Fred, 9 months, at the new breastfeeding room at the Koroit factory. Picture: Mark Witte

It's a welcome change for Bega Koroit employee Emma McElgunn, who is about to return from maternity after having her second child.

"This is going to make the return to work a lot easier," she said.

"When I had my first child I just had to book daycare and go back to work, but when it came to the actual fundamentals of it all it's like, I have to feed, I have to express, so this just really takes the pressure off now.

"You don't have to go back to your car and hide to feed.

"It makes the idea of coming back to work so much more warm and inviting."

The Koroit site has around 140 workers and in peak time sees an average of a million litres of milk processed and trucked out.

There are around 14 women working at the site.

Embracing change: Bega quality operations officers Nichaela King and Emma McElgunn, with her son Fred, 9 months, at the new breastfeeding room at the factory in Koroit. Picture: Mark Witte

Embracing change: Bega quality operations officers Nichaela King and Emma McElgunn, with her son Fred, 9 months, at the new breastfeeding room at the factory in Koroit. Picture: Mark Witte

"I've been here seven-and-a-half years and when I started there were only maybe half a dozen females and now we're up to about 14 so it's great to see Bega is able to move with the times and do this sort of thing for all the women," Ms McElgunn said.

"Even in Warrnambool if we didn't have the Breastfeeding Centre there's sort of no-where mum's can go.

"It's fantastic a workplace can do that for you and support you in that way."

Bega Cheese Koroit site manager Chris Evans said the stereotype that factory work is a male industry is fast changing.

"We really want to get the message out there it's not just the stereotypical middle-aged male that can work at a dairy factory, we have nursing mums who are not only in the workforce but who we can support on their return to the workforce after being on maternity leave.

"It's a great step for Bega Koroit and Bega as a business to really promote a welcoming workforce."

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