Each and every business in the food industry is facing a growing and daunting task: not just succession planning but also preparing for what could be an absence of qualified millennials entering the food safety profession.
At this year’s IAFP conference, the concern over professional development in this industry was at the forefront. “If we’re going to fill our shoes, where are the shoes walking?” asked Brian Bedard, executive director of the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s Science and Education Foundation. “How do we get young people excited about this profession? What are the programs we can get involved in to expose young people to this at a very young age?”
The question of how we are going to find passionate people to work in the food safety space, especially regarding the recruitment and training of millennials, is a big one. We need to make sure we are prepared to have the resources that will help build future success in food safety. In order to recruit those resources, we need to create more enthusiasm surrounding the field and make it a profession that people aspire to be a part of when they “grow up”.
“If we’re talking about the future…we need to get to the core of where people are making their life decisions and not waiting,” said Bedard. Yes, we need people with a Masters of Science degree in food science or nutrition, or expertise in microbiology and the like, but we also need people who know how a manufacturing or processing plant operates; we need people with knowledge about sanitary engineering and sanitary design, pointed out Bedard. With the changing landscape that we will experience with FSMA implementation, do you think we are armed with the resources to handle this paradigm shift as we look to the future?
Are we being proactive enough? How is your company working to invigorate the younger generation to become involved in this industry?