New food engineering degree gets backing of the industry

Some of Britain’s biggest food and drink businesses have pledged practical support for students studying for the UK’s first-ever food engineering degree.

The new Masters of Engineering (MEng) degree will be taught from September at Sheffield Hallam University and was developed alongside the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Skills Academy for Food amp; Drink.

To date, over 40 businesses – including big names such Arla Foods, PepsiCo, Warburtons, Nestlé UK, United Biscuits, Pork Farms and Premier Foods as well as a hosted of smaller, more local firms – have offered support including paid placements worth up to £17,000 pro rata; 12-week and 30-week undergraduate placements; employment opportunities subject to final grades, and guest lectures.

Academy chief executive Justine Fosh said industry support meant every student would be guaranteed a choice of paid work placements.

“The unprecedented level of industry backing for the new Masters degree underlines the intense competition for graduate-level engineering talent among all business sectors,” said Fosh. “Thanks to food industry collaboration, the new degree will offer a reliable recruitment pipeline of employment-ready engineers steeped in the unique needs of food and drink manufacturing.”

In a further boost to the four-year course’s attraction, the Higher Education Funding Council for England recently announced a £6.9m funding package for a National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam, which will act as a state-of-the-art hub for industry innovation and R amp;D.

The FDF has also offered a £2,500 bursary for every student as “a tangible demonstration of the benefits of joining the food and drink manufacturing industry.”

Angela Coleshill, FDF’s director of employment and skills commented: “As the largest manufacturing sector, our success depends on our ability to remain competitive. The competitive bursaries available with this degree will not only ensure graduates have the right skills for our industry need but also assist them with the financial burden many students face today.”

“Coupled with the ability to earn-while-you-learn, generous bursary opportunities, and access to world-class facilities, food and drink engineering at Sheffield Hallam University represents a superb study choice for talented young people with the drive and ambition the industry needs,” added Fosh. “They will not only gain a degree offering some of the best job, career and pay prospects available in any British industry but a chance to shape the future of both our sector and our competitive position on the world stage.”

The Academy hopes to get a total of 50 food sector firms on board before the first course starts in September.

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