First UK engineering degree in food and drink manufacturing

The UK’s first accredited engineering degree dedicated to food and drink manufacturing was launched last week  by the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, David Heath.

The MEng Food Engineering degree will be offered exclusively by Sheffield Hallam University and is a new step in the direction of tackling skills shortages in the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.

Fiona Kendrick, chairman and chief executive of Nestlé UK & Ireland, attended the event and explained the challenges faced by engineers being recruited without any food and drink specialist skills.

Nestlé is one of many companies that have signed up to supporting the degree, and Kendrick stressed that, without technical expertise, it would be hard for the sector to innovate and remain competitive.

A main feature of the degree is guaranteed work placements at food and drinks companies. This will enable students to gain valuable experience and employment skills.

As a part of the Graduate Excellence, the MEng Food Engineering degree will guide students in the right direction of being ready for employment and to face the challenges of the industry.

Urging more companies to get involved, Kendrick explained: “The Graduate Excellence degree is a ground-breaking initiative, which will equip graduates with the technical skills and commercial acumen our industry needs. It is an opportunity for food manufacturers to take control of their future and help shape a pipeline of talent.”

Emphasising the importance of the industry, which is worth around £89bn a year, Heath said: “I want to see this sector grow and become more competitive on the world stage, creating more job opportunities for our young people. That’s why it is vitally important that the industry is able to attract new talent with the right skills so we can continue to lead the way in developing innovative food sciences and technology.”


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