Six National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) staff members from Food Technology Department last week attended a three-day training session on the operations and maintenance of the retort.
The trainees, comprising Machine Operators and Research Scientists were taken through the paces by a Technician from John Bean Technologies (JBT; the suppliers of the retort – formerly FMC Food Tech) from Belgium.
Ms Gloria Molefe, Assistant Research Scientist in the Food Technology Department, said the training addressed the skills gap that was created by staff members having left NFTRC.
Gloria said that the training put the relevant staff in a position to conduct thermal processing experiments and complete the projects that were delayed by the skills gap.
She said the nature of training would also allow continuity and division of labour among the Machine Operators and Food Scientists, adding that now the skills pool has increased because more staff members have the know-how on the operation of the machine.
She said henceforth there should be a strategy on how skills and know-how should be continually transferred to avoid the skills gaps created when key staff leave, which has been a great challenge not only for the department but the whole institution.