The Alliance of Ontario Food Processors (AOFP) is finally starting to see its Ontario Institute of Food Processing Technology (OIFPT) take shape. Ground was broken on the Institute last Friday.
The Honourable Gary Goodyear, minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) and MP for Cambridge, along with Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leeanna Pendergast and John Tibbits, president of Conestoga College, were all on hand to mark the occasion.
Much-needed industry training
The 60,000 sq.-ft. OIFPT is to be located at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont. and it will serve as a training ground for much needed skilled professionals in food and beverage processing. It will be the first of its kind in Canada.
The AOFP says the institute is the culmination of a study that it began in 2007 with the financial assistance of the Agricultural Adaptation Council. The focus was on addressing the lack of and need for skilled workers.
In addition to state-of-the-art food processing equipment, food labs and world-class instructors, the OIFPT will be home to offices for the AOFP.
The OIFPT will also mirror the most advanced technologies, processes, and health and safety standards of advanced processing plants. It will focus on advanced skills training in areas such as food safety, process automation, industrial electrical systems, refrigeration technologies and plant management/supervision.
The state-of-the-art facility will be built as part of Phase 1 construction of Conestoga’s new Cambridge Campus.
The college is to receive federal and provincial funding totalling $72 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program and Ontario’s 2009 budget.