Many thanks to Nicole Gallace and the FoodGrads team for this original article. Find more food industry career information at FoodGrads.com including creating a ‘Get Found’ profile, career advice and the RCA-affiliated CCS® examination prep program.
Farmers, food processors, food technologists and engineers, chefs, food scientists, entrepreneurs and baristas make up the powerful, evolving and growing food industry. With 9.6 billion mouths to feed by 2050, this industries’ importance can not be underestimated, plus we all love to eat, right!?
The number of young people pursing degrees or courses providing the skills to work in ALL areas of Food & Beverage is significantly low in comparison to the demand, creating a challenge for the industry. New graduates are not prepared for the realities of this industry and the jobs that are available, especially in food processing. When you think about what they are exposed to on TV or on social media, can you blame them? Let’s explore some ‘gaps’ FoodGrads is bridging.
Celebrity Chefs are Rock Stars
The Food Network highlights the culinary space very well. Chefs are decorated and celebrated and long may this continue. They encourage young people to explore food and the art of cooking, something our schools are not doing as well as they could. They also educate viewers on healthy food choices and nutrition, disease prevention and well-being, heck, one even started a revolution at the same time as harvesting vegetables from his garden! Farmers markets and emphasising the role of the farmer has become mainstream thanks to their Midas touch.
Food Processing Rocks Too!
Between shift work (food is made 24/7) and the images of hair nets and ‘food factories’, its no wonder Food Processing doesn’t seem sexy enough to attract young people. But what if the perception is wrong, or at the very least, not presenting the whole picture?
‘Big Food‘ like Nestle, Coca Cola, Unilever, Campbells, Maple Leaf Foods are well-known brands, with dedicated Marketing teams focused on attracting consumers and HR teams focused on recruiting people to work for them. Those who are interested in pursuing a career in food can find them easily. But what about the start-ups, the small and medium food and beverage organizations—the faceless, ‘no name’ buildings in industrial parks? How do they attract and hire talent, especially fresh grads who are new to the industry?
FoodGrads supports the smaller businesses that are nimble and adaptable to market trends, exploring new ideas and technologies. The ones who test products with consumers to confirm if they are fads or something that’s going to stick around. Thus allowing bigger food companies to adopt new trends, minimizing risk. They push the industry forward, an industry that has changed, and continues to change and evolve. ‘Big Food’ hasn’t always had the best reputation (sometimes deserved and sometimes not) but it isn’t going anywhere and it would be disastrous if it did. Find out for yourself what’s going on today, you’ll be surprised how far the industry has come!
Students & Grads
FoodGrads is dedicated to mentoring and support, first and foremost. The platform allows students and recent grads to create a unique profile that is searchable by employers looking to hire people full-time, for internships or as independent consultants. Find information about the industry, career advice, industry podcasts and much more on the FoodGrads blog.
Experienced Food Pros are welcome to create a profile. Apply to job openings, seek career advice from industry experts, provide career advice by becoming a mentor, ‘Get Found’ or simply network in a niche community.
Create a profile
From a huge number of customized drop down options, candidates are able to highlight (amongst other things) education, experience, areas of interest and type of employment that interests them. Over time those who have created a profile will produce a clear picture of who they are–the person behind the resume–with personal website development in the pipeline.
FoodGrads provides a niche community of Food and Beverage industry professionals, a fantastic networking opportunity to share information and insights, as well as Q & A. It’s a hub for students to join now, and stay for the duration of their careers.
The importance of a mentor is second to none in career navigation. Designing a ‘career path’ that makes sense based on interests and education is priceless, FoodGrads supports that. The Food & Beverage industry is made up of some of the most collaborative and authentic people you’ll ever meet. FoodGrads is in the process of developing a Mentorship program with a little help from our friends.
FoodGrads will be facilitating ‘Mini’ Internships. These are low risk, high reward project based online opportunities. Students need relevant work experience to beef up their resumes and to be attractive to employers once they graduate; ‘Mini’ Internships allow them to work on different projects with different companies’ while they are still figuring out their path.
FoodGrads will post job opportunities for free, as well as promoting internships and facilitating ‘Mini Internships’. Share a project and invite students to submit their work or ideas. Employers get to explore the perspectives and abilities of a student, using this time to identify if they are a fit in the future for the organization or to test new ideas. Mini-Internships are low risk and low commitment, designed to benefit both parties.
FoodGrads is a one-stop-shop for search and recruitment of students, new grads and experienced professionals, with a variety of options available.
FoodGrads is dedicated to creating awareness around career options in Food & Beverage. We are involved in a number of bursary programs and scholarship initiatives across Canada and the US. Our mission is to shake things up! Redefine the perception of the sector and attract young people to careers in food in the process. While providing support, mentoring and directing them to courses, programs, schools, associations and employers.
‘The Dish’ by FoodGrads podcast is an excellent tool for sharing the stories of the people that make up the industry, how they got to where they are and advice for those just starting out. The interviews will appeal to anyone interested in the people and companies’ who play a part in our food system.
Lastly, we are the ears and eyes of the industry. The information shared by all parties involved is extremely valuable and important to help steer the sector forward. As a sector we are stronger together.
If you have an idea, comment or feedback email us now. We’re dedicated to closing the gaps! Our site is continually developing so ‘check in’ often or join us to be kept informed.