Process Operator - Food Manufacturing (Apprenticeship)

Please note:

Prospective students must be registered apprentices with the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD). For more information on apprenticeship training contact your local Employment Ontario apprenticeship office.

Program description

The Process Operator – Food Manufacturing (Apprenticeship) program is designed to provide the student with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to pursue a career in the food processing industry. The program is based on the OCOT Schedule of Training and consists of 300 in-class hours (Level One – 87 hours, Level Two – 153 hours, Level Three – 60 hours). The following areas are covered in the program:- food safety and security- food manufacturing and the environment- electrical and instrumentation techniques - mechanical techniques - communication and computer skills- continuous quality improvement

In addition to the above, the apprentice is required to complete 4,000 on-the-job hours in order to become a journeyperson. See Apprenticeship - General Information.

Program details

Code: 0724
Delivery: Apprenticeship
Length: 300 hours
Start: Varies
Campus: Cambridge - Fountain Street
Credential: Certificate

Program contacts

Academic school

Hospitality & Culinary Arts

Fees & payment

  • Fees are set by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development as per the Offer of Classroom Training.
  • Books, safety equipment, tools, and parking fees are additional. For details, visit Orientation & support.
  • Applicants are registered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Awards & scholarships

Conestoga College's Student Financial Services administers many awards, bursaries, scholarships and academic grants. Information and application forms for numerous awards, bursaries and scholarships are administered by Student Financial Services.

Many program-specific awards are administered by individual programs. Students should speak to their faculty or program coordinators about additional awards available in their program specific areas.


Level 1

Course details

Food Safety Level 1


The Food Safety course is designed to provide the student with general knowledge of food safety including food safety hazards, good manufacturing practices and food safety systems, as well as basic knowledge of food plant security and of the impact of food manufacturing on the environment. The course covers Food Safety, Food Plant Security and Food Manufacturing - Environmental Management. The content is based on the MTCU schedule of training for a Process Operator - Food Manufacturing apprenticeship program.

  • Hours: 87
  • Credits: 6
  • Pre-Requisites:
  • CoRequisites:

Level 2

Course details

Electrical and Instrumentation - Processing


This course covers training in the fundamentals of electrical theory and operating principles and their application to a typical food and/or beverage processing line. The apprentice is given fundamental skills in working with PLC, ControlLogix systems as well as trouble shooting and minor corrections for optimum performance of AC/DC electrical controls and automatic systems. The apprentice works with typical instrumentation systems, sensors and digital control systems found in the food and beverage processing industry.

  • Hours: 96
  • Credits: 7
  • Pre-Requisites:
  • CoRequisites:

Mechanical Techniques in Food Processing


The successful completion of this course enables the apprentice to apply skills to work safely with the mechanical components of a food or beverage processing line using tools and equipment to make adjustments to conveyors and conveying systems, transfer mediums and adjust and trouble shoot pneumatic/hydraulic and mechanical systems. The apprentice also studies the implications of work order management systems and documentation requirements and the fundamentals of lubrication.

  • Hours: 39
  • Credits: 3
  • Pre-Requisites:
  • CoRequisites:

Communication and Computer Skills


Apprentices will learn how to use spreadsheet and word processing software to generate reports and communicate effectively with others.

  • Hours: 18
  • Credits: 1
  • Pre-Requisites:
  • CoRequisites:

Level 3

Course details

Continuous Quality Improvement


Through successful completion of this course the apprentice will be able to apply training in Statistical Process Control, Lean and TPM concepts, six sigma concepts and problem solving techniques to make continuous improvements to the process. The apprentice will also develop an awareness of equipment failure analysis techniques, energy management techniques and learn how to use effective operator preventive maintenance systems.

  • Hours: 60
  • Credits: 4
  • Pre-Requisites:
  • CoRequisites:

Program outcomes

  1. Understand and describe food safety programs (GMP, HACCP) and their use in controlling food safety hazards
  2. Understand the role and importance of effective record keeping
  3. Describe cleaning and sanitizing procedures
  4. Understand the process followed during a food recall
  5. Apply practices to ensure that water, steam and ice are potable
  6. Describe and give examples of physical, chemical and microbial hazards
  7. Identify common sources of pathogens and methods to control their growth
  8. Describe food borne illness and food spoilage
  9. Understand contamination and cross-contamination of food and how these happen
  10. Describe food allergens and their importance in food manufacturing
  11. Describe the requirements for the physical structure of a processing
  12. Apply the procedures of a food defense program to provide protection from intentional contamination
  13. Understand a Spill Response Plan and the general procedure for developing oneSelect, use and maintain hand and power tools and equipment used in the food manufacturing industry
  14. Use safe work practices when troubleshooting the electrical components of a food processing line.
  15. Understand the basic concepts of electrical theory and use them to make minor adjustments using electrical controls, PLC's control systems application and Control logic type systems
  16. Develop the ability to troubleshoot automatic systems (AC/DC Drives)
  17. Be familiar with and make minor changes to Instrumentation and Digital Control Systems
  18. Utilize safe work and tooling practices when troubleshooting mechanical systems
  19. Understand the fundamentals of a packaging line, conveyors and conveyor systems
  20. Utilize common spreadsheet and documentation computer software to generate reports and communicate effectively
  21. Utilize and understand continuous quality improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing, statistical process control and six sigma concepts for problem solving
  22. Identify and implement operator preventative maintenance systems, equipment failure analysis techniques and energy management systems

Program handbook

Program handbook

Graduate opportunities

Graduates will experience employment in the largest manufacturing sector in Canada and may find work in small-, medium- and large-sized food manufacturing companies in skilled positions such as machine operator, maintenance technician, and leadership roles.

For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website:


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