Collaborating with food sector bodies, including the Food and Drink Federation, Campden BRI, Leatherhead Food Research and sector skills council Improve, the IFST has a few projects planned.
These range from a new careers web site which will list UK food science courses and provide other resources through a mentoring and support scheme for students, to a new event designed to highlight careers in the sector to be held at Chipping Campden towards the end of the year.
For the industry, there are plans to create a register of IFST- accredited food safety experts within firms, designed to improve members' career development. Support for the register is being sought from government, the Food Standards Agency and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. There are also plans to improve links with commercial organisations, a so-called 'group scheme', with particular benefits so far undisclosed for corporate bodies that come on board.
Since taking over as IFST's chief executive last January, Jon Poole has captained a radical shake-up, designed to streamline the body's governance and improve its relevance to its members and other industry stakeholders, linking the IFST's strategic plans into its business planning cycle. Poole has succeeded in stemming a decline in individual membership, which now stands at just over 2,000.
"We have slimmed down the governance of the organisation to make it far more transparent, nimble and flexible," he said. "We are more efficient and capable, and ready to face the new challenges a significant change."
Poole has prioritised careers and education, and communications and external influence.
"No longer will we put out statements without basing them on the needs and the language of the audience," said Poole.