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EIT Food launches new Learning Services to support food sector employers

EIT Food Learning Services offers first of its kind pan-European assessment process for professional training programmes and certification for learners

18 Oct 2022
  • Learning Services will be underpinned by new framework to help employers identify skills gaps and career development opportunities for employees
  • The EIT Food Quality Mark of Excellence will establish that its portfolio of professional development courses have passed a rigorous quality assessment

EIT Food has today launched its Learning Services for Employers, which will provide an internationally recognised mark of excellence in professional education for the food system. EIT Food is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

Through consulting over 1,000 businesses and employers across Europe, EIT Food found that most current education and training provision does not meet the needs of the industry and that urgent change is needed to professionalise education across the food system.

The Learning Services, created with academic and corporate partners including the University of Reading and the Fraunhofer Institute, and in consultation with industrial partners such as PepsiCo, will be the first of its kind, offering a single, pan-European assessment process for all professional education and training programmes within the agrifood system.

“Over 40 million people are currently employed within our European food system, from production and manufacturing through to retail and hospitality. However, speaking to over one thousand employers across Europe revealed that most do not feel adequately prepared to deal with the challenges facing our food system.

“As the first pan-European initiative of its kind, we hope to see our Learning Services set a standard of excellence for professional development in the agrifood industry and support employers to upskill their workforces to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.”

- Maarten van der Kamp, Director of Education at EIT Food

The Services will provide a benchmark for the way practitioners across Europe deliver non-academic training courses, using the EIT Food Quality Mark of Excellence to establish that a course meets the needs of the agrifood sector and is of a high quality. EIT Food offers over 50 courses in its catalogue, including 25 MOOCs (massive open online courses).

EIT Food’s Learning Services will be underpinned by its proprietary Competency Framework, which offers clear vocational and professional pathways for learning that employers can use to identify skills gaps in their workforce and select high-quality learning materials to aid career development. The Framework will enable learners to articulate the skills and knowledge required to develop their careers as innovators and entrepreneurs in the agrifood sector, by setting a standard for developing and enhancing competencies.

Alongside this Framework, EIT Food has partnered with the Fraunhofer Institute to introduce a dual accreditation and certification approach that will ensure that its courses, learning providers and learners all meet a recognised standard of excellence. Using internationally recognised guidelines and frameworks, EIT Food has defined a robust accreditation process which is applied to each course and programme within its portfolio. Following course completion, the EIT Food Assessment offers learners to opportunity to assess their knowledge and receive an internationally recognised certificate.

The Learning Services will also offer consultancy services and a mentoring programme for educators in the agrifood sector.

The Learning Services are being launched at EIT Food’s Annual Event in Brussels, bringing together stakeholders from across the food sector to discuss how to build a more healthy, sustainable and transparent food system.

“At PepsiCo, we recognise the value in providing high quality education to associates across the business. With unprecedented challenges facing our food system, it’s even more important that our workforce have the knowledge and skills they need to adapt, work safely and drive efficiency, so that we can continue to serve our consumers with high quality, delicious products.

High quality, meaningful and easy to access education is necessary for all working professionals in the food and agricultural industries. So we are proud to have partnered with EIT Food to share our knowledge and best practice to help develop this educational resource for the sector. The certification will provide learners with an official instrument to recognise the investment that their companies have made in their development; resulting in a better educated cohort of European in-work food professionals which can help enable the transformation of the food sector.”

- Imran Afzal, R&D Senior Manager at PepsiCo

For more information, please contact:

About EIT Food

EIT Food is the world’s largest and most dynamic food innovation community. We accelerate innovation to build a future-fit food system that produces healthy and sustainable food for all. ​

Supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union, we invest in projects, organisations and individuals that share our goals for a healthy and sustainable food system. We unlock innovation potential in businesses and universities and create and scale agrifood startups to bring new technologies and products to market. We equip entrepreneurs and professionals with the skills needed to transform the food system and put consumers at the heart of our work, helping build trust by reconnecting them to the origins of their food.

We are one of nine innovation communities established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.

Find out more at or follow us via social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

About the University of Reading

The University of Reading is among the top 30 UK universities in world rankings* and is home to 23,000 students from more than 160 countries.

It offers a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, humanities, social sciences, business and arts.

Today, Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. The University features more than 50 research centres, many of which are recognised as international centres of excellence in areas including agriculture, biological and physical sciences, European histories and cultures, and meteorology.

In 2021, the University was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education – the most prestigious award in the university sector – for its work on climate change.

The University owns and manages the Thames Valley Science Park, which is home to a community of ambitious, knowledge-based companies set within a relaxed, campus-style environment with cutting-edge laboratories and flexible office space. Recent, high-profile tenants include the British Museum and ShinfieldStudios.

*ranked 27th out of 90 UK universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2022

About Fraunhofer Institute

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft based in Germany is the world’s leading applied research organization. Prioritizing key future-relevant technologies and commercializing its findings in business and industry, it plays a major role in the innovation process. A trailblazer and trendsetter in innovative developments and research excellence, it is helping shape our society and our future. Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft currently operates 76 institutes and research units throughout Germany. Over 30,000 employees, predominantly scientists and engineers, work with an annual research budget of €2.9 billion. Fraunhofer generates €2.5 billion of this from contract research.

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