Planned food engineering centre will help skills gap

Earlier this week, news broke regarding a funding boost for the planned National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering – a move that was more than welcomed by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has granted Sheffield Hallam University a sum in the region of £6.9 million to assist in the development of the planned food engineering centre, and the FDF believes that this will help industry and government to realise their shared vision for growth.

Speaking at an FDF Centenary parliamentary reception celebrating the contribution of industry’s skilled and talented individuals, FSF president Jim Moseley welcomed the award: “Not only will students on the UK’s first food and drink engineering degree experience close industry involvement, they’ll also be supported in their studies by the centre. The funding and pledges of industry support will create a cutting-edge facility which will act as a hub for R&D and innovation solutions, whilst also providing industry the facilities for workforce development”.

Angela Coleshill, director of employment and skills at the FDF, added: “Industry will benefit from having a world class facility focusing on finding solutions to the industry’s specific needs including production process adaptability, energy efficiency and waste reduction solutions – essential to ensure we realise our growth potential and to develop and equip engineers to be future leaders for the food industry.”

It is anticipated that the centre’s focus on mechanical engineering will be vital in helping to tackle industry’s current skills gaps in this area, by exposing both current employees and students on the industry-backed MEng Food Engineering degree to the latest technology and developments.

Addressing the skills gap, Moseley commented: “To attract new talent to the industry to fill our skills gap, we need more young people to consider food and drink manufacturing as a career of first choice. Alongside our Taste Success campaign, our involvement in See Inside Manufacturing will help us to bring to life the fantastically varied careers available in the industry. That’s why we’re asking more members to get involved with this exciting initiative so that we can help more young people decide whether they might have a future in food.”

– Simon Rowley

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