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February 28, 2020 11:58 AM

Food processing event connects students to industry

On February 27, more than 160 Conestoga students, graduates and partners from the food, beverage and packaging industry gathered at the college’s Cambridge campus for the Institute of Food Processing Technology (IFPT) Industry Expo. The event was designed to inform, inspire and connect students primarily in IFPT programs with emerging industry trends, innovations and career paths.

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Students, graduates and partners from the food, beverage and packaging industry gathered at the Cambridge campus for the IFPT Industry Expo on February 27. The event featured presentations, discussion panels and a networking session designed to inform, inspire and connect students with emerging industry trends, innovations and career paths.

Conestoga’s one-of-a-kind Institute of Food Processing Technology provides education, training, research and technical expertise to the food and beverage manufacturing industry in Canada. The institute features an 8,000 square-foot plant with processing lines for beverages, baked goods and vegetables, as well as a food testing laboratory, to help produce multi-skilled graduates with leadership and plant-floor expertise. Full-time programs include Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Operations Leadership in Food Manufacturing, Structural Packaging Design and Management, and Food Processing Technician.

“The IFPT Industry Expo celebrates Conestoga’s students, graduates and partnerships within the field of food, beverage and packaging manufacturing,” said Tony Thoma, executive dean, IFPT, as he welcomed guests. “Through this event, we hope to build bridges between our students and corporate partners that will help establish a committed and engaged workforce and a healthy, sustainable and innovative industry in the decades to come.”

Presentations and discussion panels from industry and employer representatives provided insight into the evolving food industry and the numerous career opportunities and pathways. Students learned about emerging trends and innovations, positioning themselves for rewarding careers in food and navigating the industry.

Among the presenters was Emily Maloney, a 2019 graduate of Conestoga’s Food Safety and Quality Assurance program. She shared her career journey with students and offered advice.

“I was in your shoes not too long ago,” Maloney told students. “It was at this event last year that I met my current boss.”

Maloney said her role as a technical representative at Sani Marc Group is a direct result of her time at Conestoga, applying her knowledge of food plant sanitation and food safety to customers across the province. She suggested students take advantage of the knowledge faculty and staff have regarding companies in the food industry, as well as make personal connections with employers at networking events.

The expo closed with a networking session where students had the opportunity to connect with and gain additional insights from employer representatives from companies looking to meet their talent needs. Students were encouraged to have conversations and gather helpful advice as they begin to explore career options and positions best suited to their abilities, interests and long-term professional goals.

“As you approach graduation,” Thoma told students, “I hope this event ignites your passion for the industry and leads to a rewarding career.”

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