Food science and technology graduates have excellent employment prospects, according to Associate Professor Richard Mason of the University of Queensland.
'The food industry is the largest employer in Australia, accounting for 21 percent of manufacturing turnover and annual sales of $41 billion,' he said.
'The food industry is a multimillion dollar operation, affecting the daily lives of each one of us and providing a vast range of high quality processed food for our consumption and enjoyment.
'About 34,000 people are employed in Queensland in the food manufacturing sector which is estimated to have an annual turnover of $8 billion. Indications point to a steady demand within the industry for qualified personnel.'
Richard Mason heads the University's Food Science and Technology Department at the University's Gatton College.
He said graduates moved into well-paid, rewarding careers in areas such as research and development, production, quality assurance, technical sales, marketing and management.
The industry's potential for value-adding to Australia-produced commodities and improving export performance, particularly in the Asian region, was being increasingly recognised, he said.
A four-year bachelor of food technology degree which covers the application of science and technology to the processing and manufacture of food products is offered by the Department at the Gatton campus.
In response to market and employer demands, the Department is offering a new three-year bachelor of applied science (food science and nutrition) degree at the University's St Lucia campus. The first two years of both courses are common and transfer between the two programs is permitted up to the end of the second year.
To be considered for entry to the four-year food technology course, students must have a sound level of achievement to Year 12 English and either maths B or chemistry. For the three-year Food Science and Nutrition course, sound achievement to Year 12 English, maths B and chemistry is required.
The University offers the only food technology course in Queensland. As part of their coursework, students complete five months' work experience in the industry and operate a wide range of food processing equipment.
The Department's excellent pilot plant facilities are used to support theoretical aspects of food processing and packaging operations, and to provide technical skills which can be applied in the food industry. They include a fully-equipped general pilot processing plant, a specialised dairy pilot plant, a cereal products laboratory, modern analytical and microbiological facilities and a taste testing laboratory.
For more information about careers in food science and technology, contact telephone (07) 54 601 155.