More than 40 students in Conestoga’s Operations Leadership in Food Manufacturing graduate certificate program used their coursework to help local charity Nutrition for Learning with its community-based nutrition programs. Throughout the winter term, students packaged 40,000 cereal snack packs that will be distributed to schools throughout Waterloo Region to support student breakfast programs.
Nutrition for Learning, a registered charity since 1997, aims to ensure nutritious food is within reach of all students regardless of socio-economic background and supports more than 160 student programs in the region’s three school boards. Each day, the program serves 23,000 students.
“Our students have to learn to operate equipment and machinery. This project involves the dry packaging line and making sure the portion size is correct, making sure the package is sealing correctly and the machine is being fit correctly - and how to troubleshoot if something does go wrong,” said Keith Muller, chair, Hospitality & Culinary Arts. “In this case, it’s a very practical application of what the machine can do.”
Conestoga students have been supporting Nutrition for Learning since 2014, and Muller said there may be an opportunity to extend the project to include the packaging of other snacks.
Students in the Operations Leadership in Food Manufacturing program acquire hands-on practical learning at Conestoga’s Institute of Food Processing Technology which features an 8,000 square-foot plant with processing lines for beverages, baked goods and vegetables, as well as a food testing laboratory. The facility is the only one of its kind in Canada and supports one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the province. Training opportunities are provided in a variety of areas including food safety, food processing techniques, packaging and plant supervision.
The Operations Leadership in Food Manufacturing graduate certificate program is designed for students who have completed a degree or diploma in science or engineering, and who want to be prepared for an advanced supervisory career in the food manufacturing industry. The program offers a suite of courses designed to develop skills and knowledge with direct applicability in the food manufacturing environment.