Canadian food processing industry aims to pre-train immigrants

Canada’s Food Processing Human Resources Council (FPHRC) has launched a new programme developed to prepare newcomers for employment opportunities in Canada’s food and beverage processing industry.

The newly developed Pre-Arrival Food Safety Management Training (PAFSMT) Programme will provide approved permanent residence or pre-arrival immigrants with employment and food safety related training in an innovative, engaging and self-paced online environment.

Despite the fact food and beverage processing is the largest manufacturing industry in Canada in terms of value of production as well as being an essential channel for Canadian agricultural products; the industry struggles to find workers. This is a growing and pressing concern for Canadian farmers and processors. Over the next three years it is estimated that Canada’s food and beverage processing industry will need to hire a minimum of 23,000 workers.

Successful clients who complete the PAFSMT programme will leave their home country with 12 Canadian employment and food safety related certificates. This means new immigrants will arrive with valuable skills creating a pool of possible workers for the food and beverage processing industry saving Canadian employers recruitment and training costs.

“There is a labour shortage in Canada’s food (and beverage) processing industry,” said Mike Timani, President of Fancy Pokket Corporation. “As a growing food business, it is a challenge for us to find and retain new workers. We are always looking to recruit qualified food safety personnel, entry level and skilled workers. We spend a lot of time advertising, recruiting and training workers. The industry needs a programme like this, where new Canadians are coming trained and ready to work right away.”

The pre-arrival online training will aim to provide new immigrants with a seamless transition into the Canadian workforce, and direct pre-arrival clients to the many available employment opportunities across Canada’s rural and urban areas. Training will include;

– Canadian Employability Skills for Food Manufacturers (5 courses)

– Basic Food Safety Skills (9 courses)

– Technical Food Safety Training (7 courses)

“Immigrants are a substantial portion of the Canadian food and beverage processing workforce,” explained Jennefer Griffith, the Executive Director of Canada’s Food Processing Human Resources Council. “The Council is in a unique position to provide food safety related training through this new program which will expedite the transition of new immigrants to exciting employment opportunities within the industry,” she added.

Article by David Fuller