Experts feels more internship programmes, exposure of students to industry and corporates, and getting corporate projects done from students are some of the ways to bridge skill gap.
Importance of people (employees) in any organisation for its proper development and growth is undisputed. Many business leaders, executives, human resource experts have highlighted it in different ways. Lawrence Bossidy, author and businessmen, who retired as Chairman of Honeywell Corp. aptly underlined the importance of human resources in an organisation when he said he was convinced that nothing they do was more important than hiring and developing people. “At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies,” he concluded.
In tune with this thinking, many organisations consider employees as the most valuable asset as they can produce the highest quality of products or provide the best service to customers. People play a key role in the organisation when the sector in which it operates is on a growth path opening immense opportunities.
Nutraceuticals, functional foods, processed foods, health supplements that come under the food industry sector is one such area that is growing at a very high rate. The food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India that ranks fifth in terms of production, consumption and exports, according to Indian Brand Equity Foundation. It estimated the Indian food retail market to touch Rs 61 lakh crore by 2020 and food processing industry is expected to account for 32 percent of it. The percentage is expected to keep growing as the Indian population is turning more and more towards processed foods which are in the forms of health foods and beverages and ready to eat foods. Even different types of grains are opted by customers in polished form, which involves processing. It contributes around 14 percent of manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 13 percent of India’s exports and 6 percent of total industrial investment.
In the case of nutra products and nutraceuticals also various market research reports have projected rapid growth of these sectors. It was the fastest growing sector and is now expected to sustain the growth in the coming years too. According to India Nutraceuticals Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2017, the nutraceuticals market in India is expected to grow exponentially in the next five years. The revenues are expected to reach approximately $4.2 billion in 2017.
The growing nutra industry requires more human resources and its availability is possible if we they are trained properly. At present, the industry is facing a gap between students’ skills and industry expectations. Bridging the gap is an important step for all stakeholders in having proper education or training that will benefit the industry
Frost & Sullivan and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) report ‘Global Nutraceutical Industry: Investing in Healthy Living’ states that while the Indian industry is currently nascent, it has great potential and is expected to grow at a rate of 16 percent year-on-year for the next five years. This makes it one of the key markets for entry for nutraceutical product and ingredient manufacturers. “The growing industry obviously will need more trained people. Having people trained in food processing technology at every food processing units is also a legal requirement as the integrated food safety law demands that every processed food manufacturing facility should have supervisor with technical knowledge to ensure the safety. This requirement makes more jobs available in the sector,” said Nilesh Lele, Secretary, Association of Food Scientists and Technologists India (AFSTI), Mumbai Chapter.
There are numerous job opportunities in various areas of food processing sector. One can work in food processing industries, research laboratories, hotels, soft drink factories, quality control, rice mills, dairies, manufacturing industries and distilleries. The candidates for these jobs can come from food science, technology and management courses. As the processed food manufacturing is increasing, the need for food testing labs too is opening many opportunities. Thus, the scope for food technology courses in India is growing fast.
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