NAIROBI, KENYA — The African Milling School (AMS) celebrated its official opening on March 6. Around 150 guests attended. Members of the milling industry, representatives from across the political sphere and government officials participated in the celebration. Representing Bühler at the event were Calvin Grieder, chief executive officer, and Andreas Flückiger, president for the Middle East and Africa. 

“In the milling industry there existed a vacuum in the development of skilled resource, and Bühler has made a very timely investment by bringing the African Milling School to this region,” said Rajan Shah, chief executive officer of Capwell Industries Limited and a supervisor of two of the trainees. “The industry shall now be able to tap from a broader pool of skilled artisan millers, which will enhance the efficiency of mill operations and at the same time improve quality of milled products offered in the market. Trained millers shall also gain better opportunities through their acquired skills and also be well equipped to embrace innovation.”

The first class is full with 27 apprentice millers from nine nations.

“It is a great class with outstanding talents,” said Martin Schlauri, principal and teacher of AMS. “Some of the apprentices already have a decent work experience, so we have enjoyed an intensive dialogue. The facilities with the class room, the laboratory and the school mill have proven to be aligned with the demands of operating a modern vocational school.”

Schlauri joined Bühler AG, Uzwil, Switzerland, in 1980 after graduating as a milling technologist. After assignments in process development and plant commissioning, he was made responsible for the flour milling business in various countries. Schlauri was the head of the Milling Business Unit at Bühler AG, Uzwil, Switzerland, for 15 years.

Joining Schlauri at AMS is Stefan Lutz, a food technologist with 14 years of experience in the grain industry. He joined Bühler AG in 2007. After several assignments to commission mills around the world, in 2010 Lutz relocated to South Africa as a head miller for Sub-Saharan Africa. Lutz is now based in Nairobi, Kenya and leads the technology in East Africa.

“We worked hard for many years and now it has become reality,” Schlauri said. “The representatives of the African milling industry were excited and underlined how eager they are when it comes to building up skills. But the highlight of the event were the apprentice millers themselves. They guided the visitors through the facilities and explained with pride and competence all the technical installation. Their bosses were just surprised how these youngsters have developed charisma in such a short time. This is as well part of our training, namely to develop personality and leadership.”