On behalf of confectionery
The Central College of the German Confectionery Industry (Zentralfachschule der Deutschen Süßwarenwirtschaft e.V., ZDS), Solingen, Germany, was founded in 1951. Since then it has been a place where young and old can find training and further education, visit seminars and stay in contact through the ZDS network.
The “Association of the Central College of the German Confectionery Industry” was created in Dortmund on 28th January 1951 by 164 companies who had clubbed together as founding members. The basic idea was to form a common interest group for manufacturers in this industry sector. The use of machinery had grown enormously since mechanisation began in the late 19th century and had led to new work processes. The plan was to train future generations specifically for the industry’s needs. After negotiations with twelve towns about the location, a decision was made in favour of Solingen-Gräfrath. The foundation stone for the first new college building was laid about 18 months afterwards. The college was inaugurated several years later, on 16th January 1954. A central “teaching factory” had been born.
Today the work of the ZDS is built on four pillars: the first, and at the same time the main focus, is to act as a vocational school for students training to become qualified staff in confectionery technology and food technology. Secondly the ZDS helps in the further training of semi-skilled employees as skilled workers or master craftspeople in the field of confectionery or food technology, and to become state certified food technologists. A third area is national, and in the last few decades also international, seminars, workshops and interships. Each year the ZDS offers about 40–50 international events in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Turkish and Japanese. In the fourth and last area of services, the ZDS supports its member companies in product development, process and recipe optimisation, and by consultancy on site or at the ZDS.
The ZDS is the world’s best known further education and training institution in the confectionery industry area. Its educational programmes range from one-day seminars to extensive 8-week training courses. In this respect the Central College represents a teaching factory available to the entire sugar, confectionery and baked goods industries. With its departments, the ZDS covers the following fields:
- Candy (hard and soft candies)
- Chocolate (manufacture from cocoa beans)
- Pastry (biscuits, wafers…) and snacks (crackers, potato crisps…)
- Pralines (filled chocolates, gums and jelly items)
- Panning (Pastilles and chewing gum)
According to Andreas Bertram, Managing Director of the ZDS, learning is one of the most important success factors. He says the exchange of knowledge is the lifeblood of progress. This is why the Central College, acting so to speak as a communication platform for the engineering industry and raw materials manufacturers, also offers high-quality congresses for the industry’s “old hands”, e.g. the annual Baked Goods and Snacks Symposium. This mediator function performed by the ZDS is made possible through the widespread network built up by the Institute over the decades with its “alumni”. Bertram explains that, “Our development in the past 60 years has been worthwhile. We are now – and will also remain – the international centre of competence and an experienced and innovative partner in the confectionery industry.”