This year, because of Covid-restrictions, the Institute has had to have a short online entrance course followed by exam. We have accepted 27 new students and, as usual, many of them come from from humble backgrounds. One story which stood out was that of Jorge (pictured). He is 30 and from San Fernando, one of the outlying villages. Last year, when he was working doing manual labour, an electricity cable broke and fell on him, electrocuting him and leaving him in a coma for a fortnight and in hospital for six months. His organs were badly affected, as well as his skin and limbs. He has lost part of his foot, though is now able to move his fingers fairly well due to an operation. He has scars all over his body.
He, quite openly, said that if his parents had been expected to cover the costs of his hospital stay he would not have survived. Fortunately the company he was working for took responsibility and paid the astronomical costs of being in hospital for so long. He has a young daughter (5) and lives with his partner. He also has a young brother who had sepsis as a baby and was left completely blind. He hopes that with this qualification he will be able to find work in similar companies to the ones he has worked in before, but in the laboratories, rather than as a manual labourer, which his injuries have left him unable to do. The certificate from the Institute allows our graduates to work in the laboratories of food production companies and, often, to work their way up the ranks. While to a native English speaker “Food Technology” can conjure up images of cookery they spend much more of their time on science and in the lab than in the kitchen!