Wanted: would-be food manufacturing engineers

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sheffield hallam university, Food industry, Sheffield

The 'Take a Closer Look at Food Engineering' campaign aims to attract the next generation of food and drink industry engineers
The 'Take a Closer Look at Food Engineering' campaign aims to attract the next generation of food and drink industry engineers
Food manufacturers are targeting a new campaign at 16-19 year olds, parents and teachers in a bid to attract the next generation of food and drink industry engineers.

The campaign ‘Take a Closer Look at Food Engineering’ aimed to raise awareness of food engineering as a career and the country’s first food engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

Starting this month, the campaign will be promoted by student advertising, e-newsletters, events and social media. The campaign website www.foodengineer.co.uk​ will showcase the experiences of young engineers currently working with some of Britain’s biggest food and drink brands.

The website also provided details of the MEng food engineering degree, the firms behind it and the great career prospects it generated.

Food engineering degree

There was also a resource area, which enabled teachers and careers advisers to download free materials such as posters. 

Prospective students will be able to talk directly to top food and drink industry engineers at Sheffield Hallam University’s Open Day on 15 June 2013. Would-be students will also be able to quiz course leaders on the MEng food engineering degree.

Angela Coleshill, director of employment and skills at the Food and Drink Federation, said: “Our industry's ability to drive innovation to achieve our ambition to grow 20% by 2020 lies very much in the hands of our employees, particularly our future engineers.”

The new campaign will show young people how exciting being a food engineer can be, and the great career prospects, she added.

Intense competition between industries

Justine Fosh, ceo National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, warned that the shortage of engineers had caused intense competition between industries. Attracting the right calibre of applicants was particularly important to food and drink businesses where “engineering skills relevant to the sector are vital to drive growth and innovation in increasingly hi-tech automated production environments”,​ she said.

“Our aim is nothing less than to ensure food industry engineering gains the same standing among would-be graduates as aerospace or automotive engineering and we urge companies to commit levels of active support comparable to that provided by businesses in those industries,”​ added Fosh.

Dr Martin Howarth, head of engineering and mathematics at Sheffield Hallam University, said the campaign was a great way for students who are interested in a career in food engineering to find out more about what knowledge, skills and experience they need for careers in the sector.

The course had been designed by the university and industry partners to prepare students for food engineering roles and will be available at Sheffield Hallam University from next year, said Howarth.

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