Graduate capabilities required of South African food science and technology students

Denise J.A. Metcalfe, Cornelius M. Fourie, Christoffel P.H. Myburgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


South African societal stakeholders are in general not satisfied with the work preparedness of newly graduated food science and technology students. There is currently little local literature available that defines the graduate capabilities required of newly graduated food scientists and technologists in South Africa. Therefore, the outcomes of an empirical analysis conducted through stakeholder engagement to identify the required graduate capabilities of newly graduated students in food science and technology are reported in this article. A self-developed questionnaire, administered as a web-based survey, was used to conduct a needs analysis to identify the required graduate capabilities. The results of this study showed that the identified graduate capabilities composed of generic graduate attributes, including the related employability skills and characteristics of graduateness, the desirable personal attributes, and the foundational food science and technology knowledge, skills, and competencies required to be an effective food science and/or technology graduate that meets the expectations of stakeholders within the South African context. Comparison with the minimum educational requirements of international food science and technology organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists 2018 “Standards and Essential Learning Outcomes,” showed considerable overlap with the required graduate capabilities identified in this study. However, it was also shown that within the South African context some additional skills and competencies in food science and technology are required from South African graduates and that existing curricula must be aligned to fully prepare students to be workplace ready.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Food Science Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • employability
  • food science and technology-specific knowledge
  • generic graduate attributes
  • graduate capabilities
  • graduateness
  • skills and competencies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Education


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