As the course lecturers for both the Food Packaging Materials and Processes Unit and Food Packaging Design Unit of the Master of Food & Packaging Innovation Course at the Melbourne University, the AIP and their expert lecturers, led by AIP Education Director, Prof Pierre Pienaar FAIP, CPP, recently spent two intensive weeks with the latest intake of students in Melbourne.

Pierre is not only the MFPI Coordinator for the AIP but he also looks after the Food Packaging Materials & Processes Unit. Here he discusses the 2018 intake of students in his unit… 34 students in all participated in the 2018 intake of the course with close to twenty industry experts providing the course content. The AIP is responsible for the course content delivery for both units and all of the course lecturers are hand-selected for their expertise by the Institute. The students were from Australia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore Indonesia and India. Such wonderful diversity added another inspiring aspect to the intensive lecturing and learning experience.

2018post_AUG_UoM_1_400pxEach day was filled with the seven experienced AIP lecturers from industry covering a significant range of packaging technology topics. By the end of lectures each late afternoon, the students had their heads full of information. They then had to digest this new-found knowledge each evening each evening while also preparing for their poster assignment to be presented alongside their oral exam on the last day of the intensive week.

The poster assignment, which formed part of their major written assignment, was based on how convenience drives food packaging innovation; as well as how environmental sustainability drives innovation in food packaging.

These are really thought provoking assignments which challenged the students to contemplate what packaging is, and what its impact is on society.   Midweek, the students were kindly hosted by Sealed Air manufacturing facility in Faulkner where they were able to learn and see how flexible packaging materials are produced.

One student said she found the factory experience daunting. When I asked her why so, she said that it was noisy and the day was run by a series of bells; morning tea, lunch break and afternoon smoko, and then coupled with isolation from one bell to the next. In addition one has to work on your own with little talking, as your fellow worker could be metres away. This firsthand experience they found most enlightening.

2018post_AUG_UoM_2_400pxAfter presentations by Sealed Air, a factory tour and lunch, the students had the afternoon to commence preparing for their oral exam and poster assignment. Thursday saw the students back in the lecture theatre with a fresh mind about packaging from their previous practical day in the factory.

I had one student mention that she had no idea that packaging was so involved and intricate. She went on to say that she merely uses packaging in her everyday life but never thought about the science, technology and engineering, not to mention the thought and involvement that went into creating a pack.

The AIP is proud to provide all of the lecturers for these two units of the Degree and we look forward to the 2019 intake.

Prof Pierre Pienaar MSc, FAIP, CPP
AIP Education Director