From the field to storage and on to the mill

Modernisation of training in the milling and grain production industry

© Bundesmühlenkontor GmbH/Steffen Höft

Contents of the previous training occupation of miller have been further developed in an updated training regulation which adds the area of storage, in particular of grain, and introduces the new occupational title of process technologist for the milling and grain production industry. The vocational qualification is now offered in a form which did not previously exist and covers the route taken by raw materials from the field via storage and onto the mill. Acting on behalf of the Federal Government, the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has joined forces with the social partners and with experts from the field of company practice to draw up a new three-year course of VET in this area. Under an umbrella of joint contents, it also offers opportunities for specialism in the areas of the milling industry and agricultural storage. The updated training regulations enter into force on 1 August 2017.

Training includes the control, measurement and regulation of process technology procedures, the acceptance and inspection of raw materials, sensor-based and technical laboratory investigations, the cleaning, treatment, storage and preparation of raw materials for processing, the packaging and loading of products and the operation, maintenance and servicing of plants, machines and technical equipment. This means that the training adopts a cross-specialism approach by imparting skills, knowledge and competences all along the process chain from the acceptance of raw materials to making products available for further processing.

The main focuses of the milling industry specialism are on the management of production processes for the manufacture of grain products, foodstuffs, and special human and animal nutrition products. Flour made from different grains, such as wheat, rye or spelt, are covered alongside speciality products including oils, spices and fodder.

In the specialism of agricultural storage, the emphasis is on storing various raw materials in a way which retains their value. Trainees learn the right way to handle a range of crops, including maize, oilseeds such as rape, and pulses such as lentils. This is an area in which respective storage properties need to be taken into account and suitable methods selected. Drying, cooling and ventilation processes also must be managed. Competencies in the areas of protection of stocks and energy efficiency are also imparted. Trainees opting for this specialism also learn about the correct ways in which to store and handle seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.

Alongside the expansion of the occupational profile, the examination structure has been modernised and examination areas have been redeveloped. The traditional intermediate examination used up until now will, for example, be replaced by an extended final examination. The first part of the extended final examination will count towards 25% of the final mark and will mainly focus on acceptance of raw materials. Specialism-specific contents form the object of the second part of the extended final examination.

In 2016, a total of 90 training contracts were concluded in the previous occupation of miller. 10% of trainees were women.

Process technologists for the milling and grain production industry specialising in the milling industry find employment opportunities at flour and hulling mills, animal foodstuffs production companies, and oil and spice mills. Those specialising in agricultural storage mainly find work at grain storage companies, at oil seed and legume companies, and at firms which specialise in the storage of fertilisers and pesticides. Seed production companies are also potential employers. Opportunities for further development are good. Possible pathways for further training include master miller, state certified technician specialised in mill construction and grain and animal feed technology, and/or certified industrial supervisor specialising in foodstuffs.

In a parallel process, the skeleton curriculum for the school-based part of the dual vocational education and training issued by the Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) has also been redeveloped.

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Contact partner:
Eva Rothe

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