Olds College partners in meat education program

Canada’s first meat science graduate program could soon be turning out masters and PhD students — with Olds College’s National Meat Training Centre playing a key role.

Canada’s first meat science graduate program could soon be turning out masters and PhD students — with Olds College’s National Meat Training Centre playing a key role.

The college is one of five post-secondary institution partners behind the new Canadian Meat Education and Training Network, with the others the University of Alberta, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Guelph and Université Laval.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has chipped in with a $1.65-million grant.

The four universities will work together to develop a shared graduate studies curriculum for the program, said Heather Bruce, an associate professor in the U of A’s department of agriculture, food and nutritional science, and director of the network.

“We have disparate skills across the country, but together we can certainly make a wonderful program.”

Students will be able to study at any of the four universities as they work toward a graduate degree in meat science.

But they will also be expected to spend time in industry settings — like Olds College’s National Meat Training Centre.

“Olds College is a very important part of our program, because it’s providing the hands-on and the practical application, from using knives to handling meat to cutting meat to making sausages,” said Bruce.

Brad McLeod, co-ordinator of the centre, is up for the challenge.

“It’s huge for us to play a role and help bring some hands-on skills to these kids, so when they go into the plants that they’re working in they understand what they’re seeing and doing and can relate to the people who are doing the jobs.

“We’re really excited by the opportunity.”

Students in the program will also complete a four-month internship at a Canadian meat processing facility, said Bruce.

Much still needs to be done, including establishing the coursework and extent of the hands-on training, but the partners hope 50 students will have graduated within six years, and by 2020 each university will have its own formal meat science graduate program.

The need is urgent, said Bruce, pointing out that the average age of middle managers in the meat industry is over 50.

“They’re anticipating a very steep drop-off in that population, so they’re going to need people.”

It can take many years for an industry worker with no relevant education to learn the business and advance through the ranks, she said. The Canadian Meat Education and Training Network should shorten those timelines significantly.

Colleges and universities in the United States already have graduate-level training related to the meat industry. But it can be difficult to attract American graduates to Canada and keep them here, said Bruce.

“We’d like to have a home-grown crop here so that they’ll stay and help us.”

Because the students in the program will have research requirements to satisfy, advancements in the industry should result.

Bruce is optimistic the Canadian Meat Council and Canadian Meat Science Association will support the Canadian Meat Education and Training Network, and certify graduates.

Olds College’s National Meat Training Centre was previously known as the college’s meat processing program. It provides students from across Canada and beyond with comprehensive training — from slaughter to retail — during a 15-week program.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — A Toronto producer who worked on “The Shape of Water”… Continue reading

US, others launch new tool to punish chemical weapons users

PARIS — The United States and 28 other countries are launching a… Continue reading

Fewer than half of Canadians hold optimistic, open view of the world: poll

OTTAWA — Canada’s reputation as a nation with an open and optimistic… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month