Conestoga College, in partnership with the Ontario Dairy Council (ODC) and French-language college La Cité, will launch a new Centre of Excellence for cheesemaker training that will feature the province’s most extensive hands-on training programs to address the growing demand for skilled workers and artisans for the dairy processing industry.
Studies completed by ODC indicate that Ontario alone will require more than 200 additional cheesemakers in the next 10 years. This new Centre of Excellence will provide the hands-on training required to fill that void and develop future generations of skilled workers for the industry.
“We are thrilled to be working with La Cité and Conestoga to create a new system of learning for the future,” said Christina Lewis, ODC president.
Groundwork for the new initiative started in early 2017. Both Conestoga and La Cité are planning for the development of dedicated, state-of-the-art training centres on their campuses to deliver hands-on training in English and French not only for cheesemaking, but for additional dairy processing programs in the future.
“We are well on our way,” said Lise Bourgeois, La Cité president. “The Professional Cheesemaking program has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the Canadian Dairy Commission is providing more than $500,000 for curriculum development under its Workforce Development Initiative.”
Efforts to engage additional partners, explore potential collaborations and raise funds for the new facilities are currently underway.
“Supporting the needs of Canada’s dairy industry is an important investment in our economic development and well-being,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We are delighted to be working with our partners on this innovative project that will deliver the talent the industry needs to fuel its continued growth.”
Conestoga’s School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts fosters innovation and entrepreneurship for the region’s burgeoning tourism sector. Following a $58 million campus expansion at Conestoga’s John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo, the School provides a number of key benefits for students and the community, including increased capacity for the delivery of education and training in state-of-the-art facilities and labs, new programs based on local food heritage and culture, and applied research and professional development to support local industry.