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Enhancing Sales Capacity for Agrifood Products in Europe
Start date: 01 Sep 2016, End date: 30 Apr 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The “Enhancing Sales Capacity for Agri-food Products in Europe” (ESCAPE) project aims at developing and implementing aninnovative blended learning methodology to train food technology students in sales techniques.Most graduates with Master’s degrees in business are highly skilled in sales, but very often lack technical knowledge in food areas.On the other hand, Food Science programmes mostly train their graduates on technical issues, but do not provide training on salesskills. There is therefore a shortage of candidates with this highly prized dual competence. Some multinational food companiesrecognize this need and have developed graduate programmes which include training in sales techniques. However, SMEs, whichmake up the vast majority of EU food companies, are unable to develop and implement these kinds of training programmes.Against this backdrop, the main objective of the ESCAPE project is to develop an innovative training tool for food technologystudents motivated to work in sales services, in order to cater to the F&D industry needs, i.e. effective international salespersons withskills in food technology. Partners will collaborate to create an e-learning platform in English for use in a flipped classroom mode ofinstruction. It consists of a blended learning approach that moves lectures, content and activities to an online learning environmentfor individual study, followed by face-to-face active learning. The training materials will be complemented with face-to-facecollaboration and coaching activities, based on “real-world” needs and problems, during the SIAL2018 food fair.To reach its objectives, the ESCAPE project brings together 6 partners from 3 EU Member States (France, Italy and the Netherlands).The project is coordinated by Association Nationale des Industries Alimentaires (ANIA). ANIA chairs the French National TechnologyPlatform, Food For Life France, commissioned by the European Commission, which serves as a unique meeting place for foodcompanies, Ministries, Universities, Research Institutions, Clusters and Financing entities, across the food chain. Because of itsstrategic position and reputation in Europe, ANIA will be able to widely promote the ESCAPE training tool throughout Europe. ANIAwill benefit from the collaboration of two other national federations: Federalimentare in Italy and TKI Agri&Food in the Netherlands.Three HEIs delivering Master’s degrees in food science will also participate in the project: ISARA in France, Università degliStudi di Torino (UNITO) in Italy and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. These 3 leading European HEIs will develop thetraining content and support.To reach the project objectives, partners will implement a precise methodology, replicable by any interested HEI and transferable toother industrial sectors. The first step will be the definition of the specifications of the training, based on the needs of foodcompanies. All the partners will participate in this activity, which will aim at fostering cooperation between HEIs and companies. HEIswill develop the training content in English, and adapt it to the pedagogical objectives of each HEI and country. UNITO will beresponsible for the development of the platform on which the training content will be uploaded after validation by all the partners.The experimentation phase will target 20 students in each HEI. They will also have the opportunity to be coached by sales managersfrom the food sector. An analysis of the experimentation phase will be carried out so as to improve the e-learning platform ifneeded. The project will implement a wide dissemination campaign all along its lifetime. Partners will define a preciseexploitation plan in order to replicate the training in other European HEIs.The ESCAPE project should result in the development of several outputs that will have an important short-term impact:- Theoretical training ending with attractive practical training during the SIAL food fair: during 5 days, the students will be taught byfood sales professionals and will have the opportunity to exchange with them via coaching activities. This will improve the qualityand the effectiveness of the training, and lead to better student employability- A collection of reusable educational materials available in an open repository for educational and other institutions to use in theirprogrammes- A continuing education resource expandable to any working professional in related areas- A communication programme to engage other European institutionsThe ESCAPE consortium aims at providing the 28 EU MS with a suitable and relevant tool to help the European F&D industry recruitqualified professionals to sell food products on national and international markets. The ESCAPE methodology and platform will beeasily transferable to any European HEI and will improve the qualifications F&D professionals, a key factor in boosting thecompetitiveness of the sector.
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