Top marks in the search to find a college to offer the nation’s first dedicated food and drink engineering degree have gone to Sheffield Hallam University.
The university was selected to produce world-class engineers, said the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which made the announcement today (July 7) in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD).
The first students will begin their studies for a food and drink engineering degree at the university in September 2014.
137,000 new employees
Its graduates will form some of the 137,000 new employees the food and drink industry needs to recruit between 2007 – 2017.
The search for a university partner began after food and drink manufacturers highlighted the the skills gaps they encountered among potential recruits.
The FDF and the National Skills Academy will work with the university to develop the course. And the food industry has pledged to support the course with work placements for successful students.
Angela Coleshill, FDF director of human resources, said: “We are delighted to be working with Sheffield Hallam to design a degree course that perfectly matches food and drink manufacturers’ needs. We listened closely to our member companies’ expressions of the skills that they require to continue developing the highly-regarded products that have put our UK industry at the forefront of innovation.”
Justine Fosh, executive director NSAFD, said the partnership was “an important milestone" in plugging the skills gap in the food and drink industry.
“Sheffield Hallam demonstrated both the skills but also the willingness to listen to industry and develop a new partnership for the future,” she said.
The development of the degree course is being supported by funding from UK Commission for Employment and Skills. Its senior investment manager Jeremy Horton said: “From a field containing such strong competition, I am delighted that Sheffield Hallam University has been selected. The UK Commission fully supports this initiative and we look forward to seeing how our investment in food production engineering will benefit both the sector and individuals studying at this new centre of excellence.”
Dr Martin Howarth, head of engineering and mathematics at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Sheffield Hallam is delighted to have been selected as the university to develop this course and centre of excellence. The project builds on our strong track record of providing excellent engineering education in partnership with leading industrial employers.”