People in packaging: Roya Khalil
Wednesday, 08 February, 2017
Roya Khalil explains why she believes the CPP designation is so important to the packaging industry.
Roya Khalil, PhD, MAIP, CPP, Research and Projects Manager, Bega Cheese, has just attained her Certified Packaging Professional (CPP) Designation and discusses this and answers a few questions about her career and packaging education in the Q&A with the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP).
AIP: How long have you been in the industry? What are your areas of expertise?
Roya: I have more than 10 years of industrial and FMCG experience in packaging development and application roles. In 2005, I started my career with Plantic Technologies, manufacturer of biodegradable and bioresourced packaging materials. In various technical and R&D roles at Plantic, I worked on a number of projects developing and commercialising biopolymers for injection moulding resins, thermoforming sheets and multilayer blown films.
I am one of the inventors in the patent for Plantic eco Plastic thermoformable sheet which was commercialised by Coles supermarket for packaging their fresh red meat category.
From 2012 to 2014, at SPC Ardmona, in a packaging capacity I was privileged to work with an extensive range of packaging materials and formats. The assortment extended from primary packages such as plastic tubs, plastic and glass jars, metal cans, plastic pouches and secondary and tertiary packaging such as sleeves, cartons and shelf-ready trays, in varied product applications of packaged fruits, beans and spaghettis, tomatoes, jams and conserves, soups and sauces.
Since 2014, with Bega Cheese, whilst the role is not packaging only focused, there has been a great experience to learning about the application of various packaging formats, materials and machinery in the dairy industry. By qualification, I am a chemical engineer with a PhD in plastics engineering. I would refrain from calling myself an expert, but the majority of familiarity has been in development and application of plastics and bioplastics.
AIP: What made you apply for the Certified Packaging Professional Designation?
Roya: Initially, I wanted to complete the Certified Packaging Professional Designation examination as a personal challenge and to gauge my knowledge of packaging. But as I started preparing for the examination and upon completion, I have developed a high level of appreciation for the designation.
AIP: How important is attaining the CPP designation to you as an individual?
Roya: I have been part of the packaging industry for a decade and have been very involved in the industry via AIP, trade shows and conferences. CPP designation felt a good fit to get professional recognition of the expertise and competency level amongst peers and international packaging fraternity. To me the CPP designation has been a good professional investment, as well as self-assurance of my competency level.
AIP: How important is the CPP designation for the greater recognition of packaging professionals?
Roya: According to Smithers Pira the total global value of the packaging market is set to rise at a CAGR of 3.8% from $806.3 billion in 2016 to $1,162.1 billion in 2026. This is a strong indication of the prominence of the packaging industry at a global scale today and in future. This would not have been possible without the contributions of packaging professionals around the world. Their role is of even greater importance in facilitating the future growth.
Whilst packaging, in some form, has been in existence for centuries, its ever evolving role has become an essential component of our modern lifestyle. The packaging industry has witnessed a rapid growth in its usage in the second half of the twentieth century in industrialised and developed countries and, more recently, in developing countries.
The growth can be attributed to a number of drivers, depending on various geographical regions. However, a common theme is the sophistication of packaging design and application of material science and development that had evolved packaging’s functionality beyond the basic containment and transportation of the products. Modern packaging contributes significantly to the shelf life extension of the products, better shelf presence, assisting in branding of the product. Contemporary packaging is also required to meet the sustainability and product stewardship responsibilities too with alternative applications post primary use and different disposal routes, focusing on the 4Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.
With the extension of the role of packaging, advancement of the technology and the global growth in demand and supply, the responsibilities of packaging professionals have also evolved and require a complex skill set of material science and processing, structural engineering, graphic design and much more.
However, it is discouraging to note how the art of packaging is not yet fully recognised as a field of science and engineering to be valued with a professional entitlement at a bachelor level at the least, by the majority of the leading universities globally. Packaging related units are thoughts as part of numerous disciplines such as food science, materials engineering, graphic and industrial design. Specialised certificate or attendance level trainings are provided by only a few professional institutes. Hence the majority of packaging professionals in Australia have come either from food sciences, chemistry or chemical engineering backgrounds and basically learned on the role.
The lack of specialisation prerequisite has created a void in identification and recognition of packaging roles in a number of organisations and the contributions are often overlooked or consumed in alternative disciplines or roles, such as brand mangers or food/product development technologists. Therefore, I appreciate the CCP designation, a step forward in recognition of and rewarding the specialised skill set and expertise of packaging professionals in the industry and within the wider professional community. I envisage that the credibility of the certification will assist in an individual’s professional confidence and career development and progression.
Attaining the CPP designation is an excellent investment in your professional development and the credential defines the packaging professional and allows organisations to seek out and hire the right professional based on verified knowledge, skills and industry contributions. Using the CPP program to assess and evaluate one’s professional competency validates you as internationally proficient as a packaging professional; a cut above your peers.
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