Encouraging young people to forge a career in the packaging industry isn’t easy. Formal industry-specific education hasn’t taken off, while in countries like France and the US there is a more formal path into packaging. The demise of the packaging technology management MSc in 2015 was blamed, in part, on dwindling numbers.
But there is now hope that the industry can get back on track. Last month, PN reported on how a group of industry professionals were attempting to set up a new professional degree apprenticeship. Backed by big names including Nestlé and Smurfit Kappa, the hope is that the course can be up and running next year.
In the April issue, we looked into the issue of packaging and education in more depth. It’s a subject that’s been given a new lease of life thanks not only to the degree but also a new packaging Continuing Professional Development course at Newcastle University.
The question remains: if you build it, will they come? The professionals believe that these courses have a chance of succeeding as they are designing content that comes from years of industry experience.
But is now a good time to forge a career in packaging? The industry faces a constant battering from the national media and pressure groups. Plastic pollution is hogging the headlines at the moment while over-packaging is a common complaint in the e-commerce sector.
For those who do care about these topics, a career in packaging is perhaps the best way to solve these issues. Being in the industry, and understanding why products are packaged in certain ways, could help create change. It’s perhaps encouraging that some universities have taken note that the plastics debate might create a bigger pull to any packaging-related course. Getting education back on the agenda is timely.
Philip Chadwick is editor of Packaging News