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From the Chief Executive - September 2018

Jon Poole. IFST

I have recently been invited to attend meetings with two significant-sized food businesses to talk to their technical managers about what IFST does and can do to support those in technical roles – particularly around encouraging their continuing professional development (CPD).

The first thing that struck me was that we were proactively invited at the request of these businesses to talk about CPD - we didn’t need to make the first approach. This, and my experiences having presented at various conferences recently, suggests that many businesses are waking up to the very tangible benefits of providing some form of professional recognition and CPD scheme for their people.

Our members who have already been accredited through one of our professional registers have committed to undertake a minimum number of hours of CPD with an expectation that this needs to be evidenced across a blend of different learning types – so, not just attending formal training courses. But now we are seeing food businesses seeking to set up ‘Group Schemes’ with us to encourage their employees to undertake and record their CPD as part of their personal development as well as providing an additional proof of due diligence.

For IFST, this has always made perfect sense. Our role is to recognise and encourage the highest standards of professional excellence; undertaking effective CPD ensures our members remain at the very ‘top of their game’ and aware of the constantly changing issues and technologies impacting their roles. That’s what we are here to do.

The second thing that struck me from my meetings was the similarity of the comments when I had finished my presentations. On each occasion, people said: ‘This is so different to IFST I used to know 10 years ago’ – I took this as a positive, by the way! Some of these comments came from those who had previously been members but had let their membership lapse and, hopefully, we will encourage them now to re-join a far more invigorated and engaged IFST.

This wasn’t, I believe, just the way I was ‘selling’ the Institute – I also hear the same comments expressed by many of our longer-standing members who have seen and been a part of this transformation.

I am so pleased to see the Institute – your Institute – growing in size and in its standing and impact. We are, as they say, on a journey and we know we still have a lot more to do. But with more food businesses signing up their people as members under ‘Group Schemes’ and with IFST starting to have a more active role in promoting the importance of food science and technology, we know we can and will achieve our very ambitious plans for the Institute.

Jon Poole

Chief Executive, IFST

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