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May 8, 2014 9:54 AM

Food Works program provides free training for youth

A new program to be launched at Conestoga this summer will provide rural youth with tuition-free training to help them launch careers in Ontario’s food and beverage industry.

Food Works - A Career Laddering Program is open to youth between 15 and 29 years of age from Perth and Huron counties and the rural areas of Waterloo Region. It includes academic upgrading, career-specific skills training and a four-month industry placement. Participants who successfully complete the full program will also receive a stipend of $500.

According to Kim Moore, manager of Workforce Access Programs and the Conestoga Career Centre in Stratford, the program will not only support young people hoping to launch successful careers, but will also address a growing industry need for qualified workers.

“We know that many of our young people leave their rural communities believing that there aren’t a lot of employment opportunities,” said Moore. “At the same time, food and beverage industry operations across the region have a critical need for skilled workers. This program will provide participants with the skills that will enable them to attain employment in their home communities.”

The program will be delivered through the Conestoga Career Centre and the Craig Richardson Institute of Food Processing Technology, with additional training provided through Conestoga’s culinary education facilities at the Waterloo campus. Participants will develop their skills in such areas as food safety, food processing and manufacturing, knife handling and meat cutting. All participants will receive support from a Career Work Coach to help ensure their success through the program and will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through an industry work placement.

Bus transportation from Conestoga’s Stratford campus to the college’s skills training facilities in Cambridge and Waterloo will be provided.

Applications are now open, and preparation classes for the program will begin in July, 2014. For more information, contact the Conestoga Career Centre at 519-271-5700 ext. 7243 or stratfordcareercentre@conestogac.on.ca

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