Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

TRACK_FAST

Training requirements and careers for knowledge-based food science and technology in Europe (European Research Area)

Project acronym: TRACK_FAST

Title of project: Training requirements and careers for knowledge-based food science and technology in Europe

Research area: Environmental impacts and total food chain

Contract No: 227220

EU contribution: €999 976

Start date: September 2009

Duration: 42 months

Status: finalised

The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the EU, with a turnover of above EUR 900 billion and 4.1 million jobs. It comprises mainly SMEs and microenterprises (99.1% of European food and drink businesses). However, the industry does not rank highly in innovation performance and is losing out to other players in the global food market. Young people are not particularly motivated to pursue a career in food science and technology in Europe.

TRACK_FAST brings together teams from all corners of Europe. Its main objective is to identify the training and career requirements of future European food scientists and technologists and then implement a European strategy to recruit them. TRACK_FAST does this through: identifying and defining skill requirements in the food-based job market, contributing to the regulation of food science and technology professions in Europe, and establishing a framework for lifelong professional training and career development opportunities for food professionals.

The project covers information and experience gathering, discussions with employers and employees, and with those responsible for providing academic and other training.

Given the diversity of the food industry, it was confirmed that people working in the industry have many different backgrounds, with diplomas in a variety of areas. This led to the development of a European Network for the Continual Professional Training and Career Development for the Food Professional (www.foodcareers.eu). This network supports food and drink industry professionals as they identify the skills needed to achieve a certain position in their career. The professionals complete a Continual Professional Development portfolio, with the skills he/she already has, and identifies the competences they lack for achieving a certain position. The professional can then establish his or her own learning plan, according to need and aspirations.

To get high-school students interested in food science and technology and to convince them that working in the food industry and related areas can be interesting and exciting, an attractive website has been (and will continue to be further) developed: http://www.foodgalaxy.org

At the end of the project, the document: ‘THE NEW FOOD & DRINK PROFESSIONAL: Industry Growth by Focusing on People ’ was prepared. This document summarises some of the most important project results and presents a vision for the future training of food professionals and a continuous strategy for attracting young people to a career in the food industry.

Website of project: www.trackfast.eu

Coordinator: Cristina Luisa Miranda Silva, clsilva@porto.ucp.pt

Organisation: Catholic University of Portugal (UCP), Portugal, www.ucp.pt

Partners: