Mix an interesting and solid education with hands-on experience in a manufacturing setting, add the possibilities and variation a pilot plant presents and the results speak for themselves: enthusiastic, motivated and ready-to-work students with creative and innovative ideas eager to become future full-time employees for the Food and Beverage industry -- a truly winning recipe for business growth and success!
The team at the Institute of Food Processing Technology hosted an excellent event that highlighted their Food Processing Technician and Food Processing Operator Apprenticeship Programs and the capabilities of their new 8,000 square foot pilot plant. Adding to the value of this very special opportunity to explore the importance of programs such as those offered by the IFPT, a best practice presentation by Greg Merlihan, National Sales Director for Karma Candy of Hamilton, Ontario highlighted the benefits to be derived through involvement with students and the resultant possible impact on an organization. Tom Bechtel, Senior Consultant, with Value Stream Solutions, added another level to our discussion on creating opportunities for business growth by sharing thoughts and strategies around leveraging Lean concepts to build and strengthen our Certification endeavours.
The Institute of Food Processing Technology
Luis Garcia, Chair
The Institute of Food Processing and Technology (IFPT) hosts a suite of programs from Food Safety and Food Operators to Maintenance Assistants. The IFPT is working diligently at promoting the food processing industry as an interesting and challenging career path to today's prospective students. They are speaking to teachers, parents and guidance counsellors to engage potential applicants in the programs offered.
Process Operator - Food Manufacturing (Apprenticeship) - 3 Yr. Ontario College Certificate Program
Food Processing Techniques - 1 Yr. Ontario College Certificate Program
Food Processing Technician (Co-Op) - 2 yr. Ontario College Diploma
Food Processing Supervisor (Part Time)
Food Processing Advanced Sanitation Practices (Part Time)
Food Safety Level 1
Part time students can study programs leading to Certification as a Food Processing Supervisor or in Advanced Sanitation Practices. Full time students can take Food Processing Techniques (non-paid placements) or Food Processing Technician (co-op placements). The Food Safety Program allows for both in class and on-line components and features Level 1 of food safety - all in all encompassing 87 hours of learning. The Process Operator, Food Manufacturing has three levels which equate to 300 hours of in-class plus 4000 hours of on-the-job training to complete.
A pilot plant was designed and developed specifically for student training and features three production lines - bakery, fresh vegetables and beverage bottling.
There are incentives for Employers and also for Students including tax credits, signing bonus' and completion grants. Students have scholarship and loan monies available among other incentives for tool deductions etc.
If you are interested in learning more about the Programs at the IFPT, please access their website at www.ifpt.ca and to learn more about Apprenticeships in general, you may download the Guide on Apprenticeship Training in Ontario from the Employment Ontario website at - http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/publications/apprentice_train_guide.pdf.
Guest Speaker from Karma Candy
Greg Merlihan, National Sales Manager
Greg was very excited about sharing the benefits that they have seen through the use of co-op students suggesting that utilization of such programs can be significantly beneficial for a company (such as working on projects relating to GFSI and product development). They have found that students are very enthusiastic and engaging and eager to both learn and to share their findings. Needless to say, in addition to the creative ideas generated for a company, this also presents a great career building opportunity for the student.
Greg mentioned that everyone is dealing with cash and people constraints and student projects can give company's a chance to focus on more than the top 2/3 of 100 ongoing projects. Some suggested ways in which to engage students:
* Gives you new ideas to approach problems in business
* Provide a very brief scope document outlining project parameters - an example was cited where they approached an entire class and split them into three groups - one with no money, little money, and finally no constraints whatsoever
* The class did observations, was provided with access to line and Operators and in early November asked to present
* Recommendations included things like re-jigging and labour movement, and also complete capital analysis', state of the art quotes, etc.
* The capital and low capital options were applied and the third kept for a future strategy session
* The entire project amounted to their own in kind time and $500
Process compression and De-bottlenecking
* This project involved data collection - it was labour intensive and there were cultural issues tied to it
* This project became the major project for the Sr. Industrial Group - helping quality, provided lots of interaction, the project was filmed and cost about $1500 all in all
* Through this, the team identified significant savings which resulted in the reduction of three full time positions while maintaining the same production
* No preconceived ideas of making more work - there was a professional relationship between the students and the employees
For Karma, involving students has revealed a true win-win scenario: for the academic partners it provides "real" experience for their students - and for the manufacturers - they gain the "practical" side - the ideas, the creative thought, the suggestions for improvement or investment. This collaboration between academia, students and industry certainly helps add to recruitment and retention and helps develop highly dynamic skill sets, thereby increasing the talent pool and building a better image of manufacturing for Manufacturers across Canada.
Guest Speaker: Food Processing Technician Program
Building on the programs offered through the IFPT, and the discussion on how to employ students - we were so pleased to hear from Chris Anderson, a student of the Food Processing Technician Program, share his thoughts and experiences. Chris is not only a full time student, he works full time at Maple Leaf Foods as well! Some thoughts from Chris follow:
* Small classroom setting has been beneficial from a learning standpoint
* Starting co-ops in September and has enjoyed the experience that the pilot plant has offered
* Presently working in Sanitation and was looking for advancement - employer supported his learning
* Chatted about student expectations - ie. working on new equipment versus the majority of plants without
* Lots of fields to work in - Quality Assurance, Preventative Maintenance, Line Operator
* Residence facilities available
* Manual equipment as well
* General wage expectation is between $15-25.00/hour for students in this program
Guest Speaker: Value Stream Solutions
Tom Bechtel, Senior Associate
After exploring the opportunities available through student involvement, Members present were delighted to welcome Tom Bechtel to our special event to provoke thought on how lean can work hand in hand to help us achieve, maintain and sustain our Certification programs.
Tom suggested that Lean is very transferable and the concepts allow you to focus on any job whatsoever as everything we do is process oriented. Using lean as an "enabler", it can help you get to a better place - building a "bridge" so-to-speak from being "good" to becoming "great".
Lean is a toolbox - focuses on process, elimination of waste, engagement of people, developing an environment of no blame, doing it right the first time and every time thereafter, developing systems of holistic thinking, designing with the end in mind, allowing you to project yourself out. The power of lean is truly one of engagement.
One of the books that Tom thought might be helpful is called "Quality is Free" by Philip Crosby - it is a book that talks about what doing "it" is when you speak of doing it right the first time - the book is no longer in print, but you can find some highlights on the web at: http://www.philipcrosby.com/25years/read.html.
We spoke of Certification and what that truly means and robust management systems that may encompass things such as ISO, QMS, Environmental Management Programs, Food Safety Management Systems, HACCP, etc.
It was suggested that if you think you understand something - check it out from a different angle. Sometimes, the only way to solve a problem is to get to the truth and value chain analysis can help do that. Lean logic itself is quickly intimate - it demands engagement, delivers process improvement, and brings people and process' together.
Some Lean Rules:
- Structure every activity
- Clearly connect every customer supplied relationship
- Specify and simplify every flow path
- Improve through experiments at the lowest level possible towards the ideal state
- Lean says - sweat the details - work for better - better - better
- Compliant is not enough
- Lean - leave no stone unturned
Without a doubt, we had a great day of learning and exploring possibilities - of engaging and motivating potential employees of the future, of harnessing ideas from the present, and at looking at ways in which our processes can be improved, sustained and maintained so that we can create opportunities for business growth - through employment, through projects, through creative thought, etc., etc., etc.! As referenced above and shared through our speakers presentations, working together with academia and students can certainly be a recipe for success!
Special thanks to our Host - Luis Garcia and his Team at the Institute of Food Processing Technology - our Guest Speakers - Greg Merlihan, Karma Candy and Tom Bechtel, Value Stream Solutions for contributing to such an informative day!
All the best!