Cheesemakers need to be able to work effectively as part of a small team. An interest and an aptitude for microbiology, chemistry and maths would also be beneficial. As cheese is a living product, expect to work all hours of the day and night. In smaller factories there can also be some heavy lifting involved when the cheeses are turned (imagine lifting a 20 kilo block of fetta!). Be also prepared to work in temperatures varying from 40 degrees to 4 degrees Celsius.
Extreme hygiene is paramount in this occupation as bad bacteria, such as listeria, can also grow in these conditions. ''Cheesemakers need to observe good hygiene. There's lots of cleaning and sterilisation involved and we have to fog the atmosphere with chlorine. You also have to wear white coats, white rubber boots and a hair net all day,'' says one cheesemaker. The PH level (acidity level) is measured constantly throughout the cheese-making process using a PH meter and taking swabs to test for the presence of dangerous bacteria. Cheesemakers are also involved in tasting and grading the cheeses. ''With experience, a cheesemaker can taste a cheese and be able to work out what the PH level is,'' he says.