From education to employment

First of its kind Learning Services provide globally recognised mark of excellence in professional education for the food system

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EIT Food has today launchedits Learning Services for Employers, which will provide an internationally recognised mark of excellence in professional education for the food system.EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Through consulting over 1,000 businesses and employers across Europe, EIT Food found that most current education and training provision does notmeet the needs of the industry and that urgent change is needed to professionalise education across the food system.

The Learning Services, created with academic and corporate partners including the University of Reading and the Fraunhofer Institute, and in consultation with industrial partners such as PepsiCo, will be the first of its kind, offering a single, pan-European assessment process for all professional education and training programmes within the agrifood system.

Maarten van der Kamp, Director of Education at EIT Food, said:

“Over 40 million people are currently employed within our global food system, from production and manufacturing through to retail and hospitality. However, speaking to over one thousand employers across Europe revealed that most do not feel adequately prepared to deal with the challenges facing our food system.

“As the first pan-European initiative of its kind, we hope to see our Learning Services set a standard of excellence for professional development in the agrifood industry and support employers to upskill their workforces to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.”

The Services will provide a benchmark for the way practitioners across Europe deliver non-academic training courses, using the EIT Food Quality Mark of Excellenceto establish that a course meets the needs of the agrifood sector and is of a high quality. EIT Food offers over 50 courses in its catalogue, including 25 MOOCs (massive open online courses).

EIT Food’s Learning Services will be underpinned by its proprietaryCompetency Framework, which offers clear vocational and professional pathways for learning that employers can use to identify skills gaps in their workforce and select high-quality learning materials to aid career development. The Framework will enable learners to articulate the skills and knowledge required to develop their careers as innovators and entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector, by setting a standard for developing and enhancing competencies.

Alongside this Framework, EIT Foodhas partnered with the Fraunhofer Instituteto introduce a dual accreditation and certification approach that will ensure that its courses, learning providers and learners all meet a recognised standard of excellence. Using internationally recognised guidelines and frameworks, EIT Food has defined a robust accreditation process which is applied to each course and programme within its portfolio. Following course completion, the EIT Food Assessment offers learners to opportunity to assess their knowledge and receive an internationally recognised certificate.

The Learning Services will also offer consultancy services and a mentoring programme for educators in the agrifood sector.

The Learning Services are being launched at EIT Food’s Annual Event in Brussels, bringing together stakeholders from across the food sector to discuss how to build a more healthy, sustainable and transparent food system.

Imran Afzal, R&D Senior Manager at PepsiCo, said:

“At PepsiCo, we recognise the value in providing high quality education to associates across the business. With unprecedented challenges facing our food system, it’s even more important that our workforce have the knowledge and skills they need to adapt, work safely and drive efficiency, so that we can continue to serve our consumers with high quality, delicious products.

High quality, meaningful and easy to access education is necessary for all working professionals in the food and agricultural industries. So we are proud to have partnered with EIT Food to share our knowledge and best practice to help develop this educational resource for the sector. The certification will provide learners with an official instrument to recognise the investment that their companies have made in their development; resulting in a better educated cohort of European in-work food professionals which can help enable the transformation of the food sector.”

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