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PROFILE: Julia Pye - Brewery Manager to Business Analyst

Wednesday June 26, 2019

Julia Pye graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Chemical Engineering. 

Prior to SHIFT, Julia had worked in the food and beverage manufacturing industry for over twenty years.  She started out in engineering, then gained team leader and management experience in a variety of areas, including packaging, brewing,  product development, process optimisation,  and operations management. 

Julia was the brewery manager at Speights brewery's Dunedin site from 2012 to 2016, throughout the $40million brewery redevelopment.  This saw some of the 100 + year old brewing equipment replaced with state of the art brewing technology and the implementation of factory automation.  

Julia found out about SHIFT whilst on a six-month sabbatical, and could immediately see how her existing business skills would be enhanced by adding tech knowledge.  The practical project based aspects of the programme also appealed, and Julia started SHIFT with a view to working within a social enterprise.  

Not content to study full-time and be  Mum to two active daughters, in 2018 Julia also threw herself into community governance roles with the Cancer Society and Cargill Enterprises, and became an active member of Rotary International.   Julia and some of her cohort designed and developed a fully functional Rotary conference website as part of the SHIFT studio projects, which was extremely successful, and much appreciated by the Rotary team. 

When the opportunity came up to complete her SHIFT placement with the Methodist Mission Southern (MMS), an innovative charitable enterprise with various collaborative technology projects designed to deliver training and education to specific target groups, Julia jumped at the chance.    One of the projects that Julia worked on during her placement was based upon research from the famous Dunedin Longitudinal Study,  in conjunction with Dr Dione Healey (University of Otago Psychology Department) and is an app that early childhood education teachers can use to help preschoolers develop self-regulation skills, which has been shown to improve a range of adult life-course outcomes.   

MMS has also been instrumental in the development of the literacy and numeracy training programme for prisoners, using virtual reality, in conjunction with Johnny Collins (University of Otago Information Science) and Ian Taylor's company Animation Research Ltd.   

Julia was immediately offered a role with MMS after her industry placement finished, and has really enjoyed being part of an organisation that "does great things for many sectors of our community, who could really benefit from the opportunities that these tech products will offer."   You can hear more from Julia about her SHIFT experiences in this Techweek TV segment, which was filmed at Signal Dunedin last month.   

SIGNAL's live online 2019 Techweek TV session, 'Shift to a tech career in less than a year', featuring SHIFT graduates Julia Pye and Jess Wren, and SIGNAL Deputy Director, Kylie Jackson.

If you are interested in finding out  more about opportunities to add tech to your current skills, get in touch with us at or phone 080099 00 24 for a chat!   We would love to hear from you. 

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