UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — The Swiss Institute of Feed Technology (SFT) announced on Nov. 2 that 17 students from 13 countries were recently awarded diplomas. SFT also announced that Director Ernst Nef is retiring early and handing over responsibilities to Daniel Müller.

From a total of 20 male and one female participants, who had started the 33rd diploma course of the SFT in spring, 17 successfully completed their training as feed production engineers. The road to success was not easy. It led the students “up a steep and arduous path.” as the institute’s director Ernst Nef said at the diploma awarding ceremony. Nef said he was very happy to see the ninth woman in the SFT’s history successfully complet the course,Aina-Elin Karlsen (Ewos AS).

Following intensive 10-month training, the graduates of this year’s course received the diploma awarding them as feed production engineer or a confirmation of course attendance from Nef in the Hotel Uzwil. In his speech, Nef stressed the significance of lifelong continuing education and praised the graduates for their decision to go back to school once more.

“With this decision, you took up a big challenge, which you have now successfully mastered,” said Nef. “Today you have reached the summit. With the acquired knowledge and your great dedication, you are now equipped with the tools you need to meet the high requirements for a safe and economical production of formulated feeds.”

He said t one goal is to satisfy consumer’s needs for hygienic feeds that are safe for humans and animals alike. On the other hand, he continued, feed manufacturers were increasingly being forced by regulations and legislation to produce and market animal feeds more efficiently and, especially, more responsibly.

In line with a long-standing diploma ceremony tradition, the SFT always distinguishes the student who has achieved the best final score. This year’s distinction went to the Brazilian Leonardo Miyata, employee at Bühler AG in Joinville, Brazil. Peter Hofer, vice-president of the SFT board, congratulated the best in class for his outstanding average grade of 5.53 out of 6, by handing over the traditional commemorative plate. Leonardo Miyata outperformed the Canadian John Smillie by one-hundredth point and Aina-Elin Karlsen by four-hundredth points, who ranked second and third, respectively.

Marcel Scherrer, the new president of the SFT board, and his deputy Peter Hofer acknowledged Nef’s accomplishments and thanked him for his immense dedication and efforts. Nef completed the SFT diploma course in 1992. Two years later, he took charge as SFT director, holding a total of 20 diploma courses to date together with his lecturer colleagues.

The 2015 feed production engineer diploma course was based for the third time on the new concept. The course starts in spring with a 15-week preparatory correspondence course. This is followed by a four-week intensive course in Uzwil, Switzerland. In autumn, the second block is then held with a preparatory correspondence course of the same length and the final intensive training in Uzwil.

In the two preparatory courses, students had to work through 21 subject areas. During the two intensive courses, they must pass a total of 14 written examinations. The highlight and finale of each block are the two oral examinations in the core subjects in front of a panel of experts. The new concept reduces the students’ absence from their jobs.

The 34th specialist course in feed Manufacturing technology will start in January 2016 and will be held in German.