We all need food to survive but did you ever wonder where your food comes from or how it was processed? Tanya Bowen thinks about it a lot.
Ms. Bowen is an inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. She and Derrick Lockyer recently became part of a very elite alumni group at the Marine Institute. They were the first graduates of the postgraduate certificate in quality management awarded at the Marine Institute’s graduation ceremonies on June 15.
Designed for working professionals with an undergraduate degree or a diploma of technology, this program provides understanding of quality management practices and how they apply to industry.
The Food Inspection Agency hired Ms. Bowen as a summer student and when she received her biology degree from Memorial, she took a full-time position with the agency. After working for two years, she decided to upgrade her education in food safety.
“I really had no formal training in food safety and technology so the postgraduate certificate in quality management was a great fit for me,” she said. “I wanted to earn more credentials and take advantage of new career opportunities and I needed a program that let me study at my own convenience while working full-time.
“I’ve achieved that with MI’s quality management program. MI instructors are readily available and have a wealth of expertise above and beyond what I expected. Now I’m ready to advance my career within the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.”
Students can continue to work full-time while completing the program because all of the courses are offered online. As a result, they have the flexibility to complete the program at their own pace.
“Because the program is web-based, there are no barriers to registration,” said Elaine Kennedy, instructor for the program. “We have students enrolled from all over Canada and from all different disciplines.”
Mr. Lockyer also saw the benefit of completing the program. He is a case management officer in the Compliance and Enforcement Division with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA) in St. John’s.
He decided to take the postgraduate program on the advice of his supervisor who felt that it would be an asset for Mr. Lockyer if he wished to advance within the department. “After finding out about the program, I felt it would give me the knowledge in quality management I needed to assume a supervisory/management position with DFA,” he said. “Advancing your education is an importance step in your career. You can never have too much knowledge in your field.”
The quality management certificate was implemented in response to industry need for more formalized training in quality processes and systems. Due to overwhelming response, the Marine Institute plans to use this program as a model for the implementation of other certificate programs.
“We are extremely pleased that this program has enjoyed great success since it was introduced in the fall of 2005. We currently have 30 students enrolled and we are expecting to see significant growth,” said Dave Bonnell, head of the School of Fisheries at the Marine Institute. “This is one of the very few quality management programs available in North America that enables working professionals to obtain the training they need to enhance their careers while they continue to work.”
Both Ms. Bowen and Mr. Lockyer believe there are great opportunities for advancement in their careers, and this certificate has given them the edge they need to take advantage of these opportunities. They also think that further education and professional development are essential ingredients for success. Both say that they plan to return to MI to take additional courses related to their industry.
For more on the postgraduate certificate in quality management, see www.mi.mun.ca/programs.