SÃO PAULO — Nestlé Purina signed an agreement with the Federation of Industries of Santa Catarina (FIESC) to train about 150 people in industrial operations. The agreement will enable residents of the western area of Santa Catarina, Brazil, to work at a new Purina facility set to begin operations late this year.

“We combined the experience, structure and all the training work that FIESC already offers in the state with the positive impact of qualification and all the knowledge that we can offer to the local workforce, preparing people not only to work in the new factory of Purina, but also in the entire industry of the region,” said Gustavo Bastos, vice president of legal and public affairs at Nestlé Brazil. “We also want to give everyone an opportunity and, with that, get a diverse group working in the market.”

Beginning in January 2024, six classes will be offered in partnership with the National Service for Industrial Training (SENAI), each training 25 people. Another phase of training will begin in July 2024. The training will cover basic industrial concepts, as well as mechanics, pneumatics and automation.

“The qualification of professionals for the industry is one of FIESC's main missions,” said Mario Cezar de Aguiar, president of FIESC. “The courses are customized by SENAI to form talents that are more aligned with the demands of the industry, mainly in terms of technology, as the 4.0 concept that applies to factories is also present in the training offered by our entities. Our industry is modern, innovative and surprising; it is a sector that transforms the lives of more than 800,000 people from Santa Catarina.”

People will first learn basic concepts through SENAI’s two-month training program, and then will enter a month-long immersion training phase, in which they will learn about Nestlé Purina’s culture and manufacturing, food safety practices and more. Following that, potential workers will then go through face-to-face training at Purina’s facilities to learn about its production lines.

“At this stage, we will have dozens of people being trained inside our industrial plants, experiencing the most modern technologies in the pet food sector, with total synergy of learning and knowledge,” Bastos said. “In Argentina, for example, there will be 10 months of training.”

Purina’s new facility is in Vargeão, Brazil. In its first phase, the plant will include a wet line, producing wet dog and cat food products. The facility will include unique patented technology by Purina.

In 2021, Purina announced the construction of a new 40,000-square-meter industrial park in Vargeão. To date, the company has invested a total of 2.5 billion Brazilian Real ($506 million USD) in the industrial park, including the newest facility. All the facilities at the park will have Purina-exclusive technology and will produce pet food while also reducing the company’s environmental impact.

Construction on the facility began in 2022 and is estimated to be completed at the end of this year with an inauguration to take place in March 2024.

“The factory will already be born with an industry 4.0 concept, in which we will operate with greater efficiency and productivity, in addition to advantages such as the implementation, control and maintenance of lines carried out remotely, and the use of robots in various operations, which makes the faster and safer process,” said Eric Zeller, business executive officer of Nestlé Purina in Brazil. “The factory will be fully automated and with digitalization implemented before the start of production, with technology patented and developed in recent years by Purina.”

The new facility will allow Purina to meet increasing global demand for wet diets for dogs and cats, according to the company. It will also further the company’s growth and help it consolidate Brazil into an important export platform, providing it access to other countries, like Latin America, the United States and Europe.

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