Food and Beverage Ontario launches Taste Your Future campaign
By Laura Aiken
Guelph, ON – Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) kicked-off Taste Your Future today, a new career awareness program focused on drawing attention to the abundance of jobs available within Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector. With the launch of Taste Your Future, FBO aims to help meet Ontario’s challenge to create 60,000 new jobs in the sector by the year 2020.
“I congratulate the industry on the launch of Taste Your Future and look forward to more Ontarians embarking on careers within the agri-food and beverage processing sector,” said the Honourable Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in a press release. “Ontario is the ideal place for the industry to grow and thrive, with a robust population, colleges and universities training the future workforce, access to local and export markets and an entrepreneurial culture.”
Research conducted by FBO shows that while awareness of the opportunities in the industry is low, Ontarians – particularly young people, their parents and newcomers – have an appetite to learn more.
The Taste Your Future multi-year campaign shares stories, videos and more outlining education and job opportunities to help people learn about the industry and find their place within it. For those who aren’t familiar with the industry there is a quick, 10 question quiz to help you match interests with great career opportunities. All of this can be found at TasteYourFuture.ca.
“Canada’s food and beverage processors drive our economy, connecting producers to consumers and touching the lives of all Canadians,” said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in a news release. “The Government of Canada is pleased to support the food sector in a way that allows it to be a leader in job creation and innovation.”
The food and beverage processing sector is the largest manufacturing employer in Ontario. More than 125,000 people currently work at more than 3,000 businesses across the province and the sector is growing. Jobs include marketers, accountants, engineers, scientists, butchers, electricians and more; the opportunities are as diverse as the food and beverage products the industry makes.
“We have employed young people in Ontario for more than 16 years and have grown and fostered these employees into senior positions, allowing them to move to different parts of the business, learning and training along the way,” said Greg Taylor, co-founder of Steam Whistle Brewing and FBO member, in a news release. “We brew beer, host events and tours, do marketing and sales. Our company is a small example of the exciting range of positions this sector has to offer and the strong relationship between the agri-food industry and tourism.”
Two thirds of employers surveyed by FBO indicated difficulty finding qualified candidates. Employers are looking for candidates trained in food safety, business, agriculture, food science, as well as skilled trades and technology.
“We’re looking forward to sharing information about the post-secondary opportunities in the food and beverage processing sector with parents and students trying to figure out what they want to study,” said Linda Franklin, president of Colleges Ontario and a member of the committee working with FBO to develop and execute the Taste Your Future program, in a news release. “Through this campaign, we’re also working with employers to better identify the specific roles they are trying to fill so we can profile them on tasteyourfuture.ca and find the students and future employees that are right for them.”
There are 140 programs at 22 Ontario colleges and 24 programs at seven universities, including many with co-op and apprenticeship opportunities, designed specifically for those interested in pursuing careers in the sector. Programs range from less than one year to three to four year diploma and degree programs.
Taste Your Future is supported by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.