The agricultural, farming and food processing sector is one of the largest growing globally. The reality of 9.6 billion mouths to feed by 2050, has a lot to do with it. However, the number of young people pursing degrees or courses that will provide the skills necessary to work in roles offered by this sector — Food & Beverage — is significantly low.
Why FoodGrads was born
New grads are not prepared for the realities of the industry and the jobs that are available. But before we blame the grads for not being prepared or researching their chosen field, bear in mind that the industry is made of up a lot of small and medium businesses—faceless buildings in industrial parks, many family owned and operated and they are operating like that have since they opened their doors 50 years ago!
The world of work that students and grads are seeing highlighted on TV or in social media creates expectations; these expectations simply don’t reflect the reality of the industry the majority of the time.
If you are Nestle, Coca Cola, Maple Leaf Foods or Whole Foods you have a well-known brand. With a dedicated HR team focused on recruiting the very best to the organization and the added bonus that for those interested in pursuing a career in food they find you! But what about the start-ups, the small and medium sized food and beverage organizations—how do they attract and hire talent, especially fresh grads?
Communication is an area of concern between educational institutions and industry. Colleges are doing their thing (with limited feedback) and industry is doing their thing—but there is a lack of communication between the two. As a recruiter I played piggy in the middle—I was asked for skill sets and experience to fill roles but people with those skill sets just didn’t exist. College grads are not meeting industry needs.
FoodGrads was born out of pure necessity to bridge these gaps. We have developed a platform that allows students and recent grads to create a unique profile that is searchable by employers looking to hire people full-time, for internships or as independent consultants.
From a huge number of drop down options, candidates are able to highlight education, experience, areas of interest, type of employment they seek as well as specify who you are interested to work for. Over time candidates will be able to create a clear picture of who they are (over and above a resume) as we have personal website development in the pipeline.
FoodGrads provides a niche community of food and beverage industry professionals, a fantastic networking opportunity to share information and insights, as well as Q & A. It’s a hub for students to join now, and stay for the duration of their careers.
Very soon students will be able to apply to ‘Mini Internships’ facilitated by FoodGrads. These are low risk, high reward project based online opportunities. Students need relevant work experience to beef up their resumes and to be attractive to employers once they graduate and ‘Mini’ Internships allow them to work on different projects with different companies’ while they are still figuring out their path.
The importance of a mentor is second to none when navigating your career. The Food & Beverage industry is made up of some of the best people you can meet. FoodGrads is in the process of developing a Mentorship program with a little help from our friends, stay tuned!
Food & Beverage industry employers are able to search for students and grads based on a wide range of specific search terms from baking to meat to R&D and BRC; based on College/University and location. Depending on budget and time restraints, we offer a full range of options to suit your search requirements.
Job postings for entry level opportunities are FREE and opportunities to brand the company (especially those small/medium ones) creating awareness are in the pipeline.
Allow FoodGrads to promote internships and facilitate ‘Mini Internships’. Post a project and invite students to submit their work or ideas. Employers get to explore the perspectives and abilities of a student and use this to identify if they are a fit for the organization in the future or to test new ideas. Mini-Internships are low risk and low commitment, designed to benefit both parties. Click here to view our Employer section.
FoodGrads is dedicated to create awareness around career options in Food & Beverage. We are involved with a number of initiatives across Canada and the US regarding bursary programs and scholarships. Our mission is to shake things up! Redefine the perception of the sector and attract young people to careers in food in the process. We will direct them to courses, programs and schools.
‘The Dish’ by FoodGrads podcast is an excellent tool for sharing the stories of the people that make up the industry, how they got to where they are (including their education) and advice for those just starting out.
Lastly, we are your ears and eyes into the industry. The information shared by students, grads and employers is extremely valuable and important to help steer the sector forward.
If you fall under any of the categories (Student/Grad, Employer or Educational institution) and have an idea, comment or feedback email us now. We’re dedicated to closing the gaps!