New Virtual 360° Learning in The Food and Beverage Processing Industry

The food and beverage processing industry is moving from traditional training to virtual 360° learning
Food Processing Skills Canada logo.

The food and beverage processing industry is moving from traditional training to virtual 360° learning. Food Processing Skills Canada (FPSC) and the Future Skills Centre has announced a new project for the Canadian industry that will revolutionize traditional training strategies and attract new people to the workforce.

iFood 360° “Virtual Reality Training for People in the Canadian Food & Beverage Manufacturing Industry” has been designed to support employers, especially in small- to medium-sized businesses, in addressing their skills shortage and engaging with job seekers. This project will also support businesses as they respond to, and mitigate, Covid-19 workforce impacts.

FPSC will deliver nationally recognized training and upskilling, based on the industry-developed “Learning and Recognition Framework, to participating companies using virtual immersive learning experiences.

“Our online technical and social-emotional training has proven effective in responding to the Covid-19 imperative of distance learning. With iFood 360°we are further supporting employers with virtual reality training, and engaging students with career exploration labs that profile career opportunities. With a virtual reality headset, an individual can literally step into a learning scenario that is 3D panoramic. It’s an exciting new way to learn,” said Jennefer Griffith, Executive Director, FPSC.

iFood 360°will develop two streams of virtual immersive learning experiences:

  • Plant operation training including food safety, sanitation and worker health and safety; and essential skills training, including emotional intelligence and adaptability, with employers in multiple regions across Canada.
  • Connect with post-secondary institutions and community organizations to provide virtual career exploration for students and job seekers and others with transferable skills.

An analysis of scale-up options for entry-level virtual technology will also be provided for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Pedro Barata, Executive Director of the Future Skills Centre, says delivering virtual skills and training in the sector is a perfect example of Future Skills Centre’s investment in innovative approaches to training to build capacity and fill future skills gaps.

“This project changes the way people are trained and supports both workers and industry with the right tools for resilience and adaptability. We want to learn how we can help workers at all levels in the food processing industry to be able to get the specific skills and appropriate training to enter into and progress in this field, as it continues to change,” he said.

“This is just one of the exciting shock-proofing projects that Future Skills Centre is investing in to build a future playbook for shared prosperity, and help Canadian workers and businesses seize opportunities in our future economy.”  

There is a growing body of evidence of the positive impacts of virtual immersive-learning experiences within an employment training context ranging from detailed technical training to advanced leadership training. The positive results include greater skill retention, higher levels of learner engagement, lower training costs, and lowering of common training barriers.

iFood 360°is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills program.

About Food Processing Skills Canada

Food Processing Skills Canada is the food and beverage manufacturing industry’s workforce development organization. As a non-profit, located in Ottawa with representatives across Canada, the organization supports food and beverage manufacturing businesses in developing skilled and professional employees and workplace environments. The work of FPSC directly and positively impacts industry talent attraction, workforce retention and employment culture. Through partnerships with industry, associations, educators and all levels of governments in Canada, the organization has developed valuable resources for the sector including CareersNOW! Job Ready skills training, the Food Skills LibraryTM, Canadian Food Processors InstituteTM, FoodCertTM and Labour Market Information Reports.

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