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Industry NewsNew post-secondary programs to address Canada’s food processing labour shortage

New post-secondary programs to address Canada’s food processing labour shortage

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Protein Industries Canada’s latest co-investment will help increase the agrifood sector’s capacity and its long-term growth by equipping students with skills needed in food science and chemical engineering technology.

Assiniboine Community College and Roquette are collaborating to develop and deliver Chemical Engineering Technology Diploma and Food Science Diploma programs to domestic and international prospective students in Canada. These are the first programs of their kind in Manitoba, with the Food Science Diploma being the first in the prairies. The goal of these new programs is to ensure an adequate workforce for the evolving plant-protein processing and food and beverage manufacturing sectors.

To create the curriculum for both programs, the college will work with Roquette, which operates the world’s largest pea protein plant in Portage la Prairie, Man., as well as consult other organizations in Canada’s plant-based food and ingredient ecosystem. This engagement will identify the technical and employment skills needed from industry, which will also help students create connections with potential future employers.

The new three-year diploma programs will reflect the college’s Indigenization Strategy by partnering with Indigenous processors, communities, Elders and Knowledge Keepers. The diploma programs will also be an integral part of the college’s planned expansion of agriculture training that will live in the Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, a collaborative learning space for agriculture-related training and a Manitoba-made response to labour market gaps in the industry.

“As a growing sector that promises to be a driver of Canada’s economy, and an industry that will require an additional 17,000 new employees by 2035, it is critical that we develop programs to help build a skilled workforce to meet the needs of our industry partners,” chief executive officer of Protein Industries Canada Bill Greuel said. “The Chemical Engineering Technology Diploma and Food Science Diploma programs from Assiniboine Community College and Roquette can create a diverse talent source for Canada’s plant protein sector, which will result in more career opportunities for Canadians and growth for Canada’s economy.”

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