Professional Recognition to enhance appeal of food sector 15 Jun 2012
IFST’s launch event on Thursday culminated in the presentation of certificates to the food sector’s first Registered Science Technicians
It is a well-documented issue that the food chain, from farm through to retail sale continues to battle with the problem of not being able to attract and grow sufficient numbers of skilled people at all levels to meet its needs. The problem at a technician level is particularly critical and it is for this reason that the IFST believes that its new professional register for those working in technician roles can make a significant impact on this long-standing issue.
Jon Poole, Chief Executive of IFST comments “The chronic shortage of skills within all elements of the food chain are an increasing concern. Those in technician-based roles, whether in food safety, quality control, new product development or supply chain management all play critical roles and need to be supported and recognised for their work.’
From recent Science Council research there are believed to be an estimated 21000 people working directly in food science roles but a further 117,000 people working in roles requiring some element of technology or science. Many of these can be classed as technicians.
It is hoped that by offering proper professional recognition for this group of skilled people, it can provide more clarity over possible career paths as well as respect and recognition for those in these roles.
Melanie Leech, Director General for the Food & Drink Federation provided her perspectives at the launch event: “Attracting, retaining and developing talent within our industry is a central part of FDF’s shared vision with government, to grow the food and drink sector by 20% by 2020. I am delighted to be supporting IFST in the launch of the new RSciTech award, to provide professional recognition for those working in our industry in a wide range of essential technical roles, as an important way in which their skills can be recognised, supported and further developed.”
To qualify for professional recognition, individuals will need to prove their experience at the appropriate level, register with a licenced body such as the IFST, sign up to its professional code of conduct and commit to continuing professional development (CPD).
Jon Poole concluded his remarks by asking employers to request RSciTech or RSci as ‘desirable’ when recruiting applicable roles; to encourage employees to focus on their CPD and to go for professional recognition and finally, to make a lot of noise when employees achieve recognition.
Holly Russell and Anthony Gorman from
Natures Way Food receiving their certificates