Food Processing Skills Canada announces iFood 360° to help food manufacturing workers upskill


OTTAWA — On Apr. 7, Food Processing Skills Canada and the Future Skills Centre announced a new project for the Canadian food and beverage manufacturing industry that will hope to address 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.

Food Processing Skills Canada will deliver 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, Food Processing Skills Canada

iFood 360° will develop 2 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 food and beverage manufacturing sector is an effective way to training and filling 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. This is just one of the exciting shock-proofing projects that FSC is investing in to build a future playbook for shared prosperity, and help Canadian workers and businesses seize opportunities in our future economy.”