100,000 reasons to support IFST surveys

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

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About 100,000 technicians are known to be working in the UK food sector
About 100,000 technicians are known to be working in the UK food sector
The Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) is asking for food manufacturers’ help to survey the needs of the 100,000 technicians known to be working in the food sector.

The IFST wants the employers of food technicians and themselves to complete one of two surveys to help plan for the future. (See details below).

Jon Poole, the institute’s chief executive, told FoodManfacture.co.uk: “With potentially fewer students choosing to go to university, it is important that young individuals find a way of structuring their early careers and the possibility of being recognised as a professional technician can provide one such alternative.”

About 20% of the UK workforce is involved in science-based activities at work, according to recent research commissioned by the Science Council.

Apply science

“A large proportion of the 20% counted in the Science Council’s research are involved in what might be described as ‘normal’ non-science based roles. Those include people who apply science within their roles but where science is not necessarily the main focus of their roles,”​ said Poole.

“This underlines the critical need to recognise and support those working as technicians, especially in the food sector – whether or not they see themselves as such within their current roles,”​ he said.

The challenge, through the direction of the Technician Council, has been to develop a cohesive yet simple framework for the recognition of technicians which will have currency and value across all relevant sectors but, importantly, which also picks up the specific needs of employers and their employees.​”

Professional registers

The Science Council, representing many of the most influential science-based institutes including the IFST, has developed two new professional registers. Those are Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) and Registered Scientist (RSci).

The new levels of professional recognition were launched by David Willetts, minister of state for universities and science, last month.

The IFST planned to develop specific versions of the new registers. “We will also be looking at how we can provide modern, relevant and accessible resources, which will ensure the institute properly supports the professional development of technicians in the food sector,” ​said Poole.

To complete the employers survey, click here​ or visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/P9T27TZ

To complete the employees survey click here​ or visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/M5CR8N3

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