Meat industry courses expand at Olds College

A program at Olds College will give students the skills they need to work in management positions in the meat industry.

A program at Olds College will give students the skills they need to work in management positions in the meat industry.

The 15-week meat management program, starting January 2010, will be open to students who have previously taken the meat processing program at Olds College or other recognized colleges or who have industry experience.

The program comes at a time when the industry is in desperate need for skilled workers.

Brad McLeod, co-ordinator of the meat processing and management programs at Olds College, said the meat industry is facing a huge brain drain due to retirement and there is no one stepping forward to fill the hole.

The meat management program will fill that need, with students studying meat management, marketing and merchandising, advanced food safety management, basic accounting and advanced value-added processing, which involves developing new products like ready-to-cook meals.

Olds College has been running a 19-week meat processing program for many years. It gives students entry level skills on slaughtering, sausage making and meat cutting.

The meat processing program will now be 15 weeks long, with the option for students to continue their training with the 15-week meat management program, with tuition costing around $2,100. Students who have taken both programs will also be able to take an optional meat inspection course.

McLeod said students are already leaving the meat processing course and moving into jobs as store managers, plant-line foremen, managers of the kill floor or opening their own businesses. Others have become inspectors or food safety managers.

“We believe with proper training, they’ll do a better job of that,” McLeod said.

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