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University College Cork Appoints New Head of Food Business

University College Cork has named Professor Thia Hennessy as the new Head of the University’s Department of Food Business and Development. The Department, which is part of the Cork University Business School (CUBS), undertakes teaching and research in the subjects of food business and marketing, international development and co-operative studies.

Professor Ciaran Murphy, head of the business school, says: “Cork University Business School (CUBS) is currently in the midst of an exciting development campaign including the appointment of a number senior staff, the acquisition of the iconic Cork Savings Bank, as well as a plan to construct a new €106 million business school building at a city centre location in Cork. We, at CUBS, recognise the importance of the agri-food sector to the local and national economy of Ireland and it is a key focus of our future development plans. We are delighted that Thia is joining the team and we look forward to building on her extensive experience and industry networks to better support the ongoing growth of the agri-food sector in Ireland.”

Professor Hennessy, an agricultural economist, joins UCC from Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland, where she was head of Agricultural Economics research for the last ten years. While working at Teagasc Thia developed an international reputation in the area of agricultural policy analysis and farm sustainability research. She also headed up the National Farm Survey, the official source of statistics on farming in Ireland. Under the auspices of the Teagasc-UCC alliance, Thia will continue to work with Teagasc in a part-time capacity on agri-food economic issues of mutual interest.

Professor Hennessy says: “I’m delighted to be joining UCC at an exciting time in the development of the Business School. It is also an exciting time for the agri-food industry in Ireland with the ongoing expansion of the dairy sector, the continued growth in food and drink exports and the looming challenges associated with Brexit and climate change. The need for food graduates and more agri-food business research has never been greater. I look forward to building on UCC’s strong reputation for excellence in teaching and research in Food and to strengthening the collaborative research programme that exists between UCC and Teagasc.”

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Graduate Trainees Taste the Future of Food Manufacturing

Rising stars of the food industry saw and tasted the future when they visited the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) as part of their graduate development programmes. The graduates, who are currently part of schemes at Marks & Spencer and Bakkavor, visited NCFM for dedicated training days to experience the technologies that will shape the future of food production.

As a national centre of excellence for food manufacturing, the facility in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, is home to a range of pioneering robotics and automation systems that are set to play a key role in driving productivity and innovation in the sector.

Sharon Green, Deputy Head of NCFM, said: “We are dedicated to supporting the next generation of food manufacturing talent so it is a pleasure to welcome the M&S and Bakkavor graduates to our campus. In the coming years, the projects and technologies we are developing here will transform the sector. By demonstrating the APRIL robotics system and a new steam infusion cooking method at NCFM, we are able to provide a valuable insight into how the future of the industry will look.”

With M&S serving more than 32 million customers online and in-store every year, the company runs a number of different graduate schemes to support retail management, head office, and food manufacturing careers. Colleagues on the organisation’s Graduate Food Technology Scheme visited NCFM to learn how technological advancements could enhance their industry.

Bakkavor is a leading international manufacturer of fresh prepared foods. It currently produces more than 5,000 products and supplies these to global grocery retailers such as M&S, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, as well as international organisations including McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Express. NCFM welcomed graduates currently enrolled onto Bakkavor’s Graduate Scheme, which is designed to equip individuals with the skills they need for higher level management.

On their separate development days at NCFM, the graduate trainees were introduced to APRIL (Automated Processing Robotic Ingredient Loading) – a ‘robotic chef’ that combines cutting-edge food processing technologies with proven robotic systems to produce high-quality food on an industrial scale.

Developed by OAL, APRIL is a fully automated robotic system that can mix, load and cook ingredients in a manner similar to professional chefs but in high volume. By using modern cooking and material handling technologies, APRIL is designed to boost production and efficiency while also improving the quality of food produced. APRIL is the first robotic system of its kind and is tipped to transform the food manufacturing industry.

The graduates also learned about advanced steam infusion cooking techniques being developed at NCFM, comparing this to other preparation methods.

Jake Norman, Innovation & Marketing Manager at OAL, said: “These sessions represent a great opportunity for us to learn what future sector leaders expect from food manufacturing, and allow us to demonstrate how robotics and automation will play a key role. We will soon see digital natives driving the move to paperless systems across the food factory, simply because it’s what they are used to.”

Jane Phillips, Graduate Agronomist at M&S, said: “The graduate away day at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing was a fantastic opportunity to explore the future developments within our industry alongside the experts that are at the forefront of these projects.”

To know more about what OAL and the NCFM do, please visit: www.oalgroup.comwww.lincoln.ac.uk/home/holbeach.

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Northern Ireland’s Meat Producers Encouraged to Innovate

Innovation was the focus of a recent seminar attended by one hundred representatives from Northern Ireland’s red meat, pork, poultry and fish sectors in Cookstown. Jointly hosted by Invest Northern Ireland and CAFRE, the event, aimed at encouraging innovation for growth, highlighted the support available through Invest NI and the Food Innovation Centre at CAFRE.

John Hood, Invest NI’s Director of Food and Drink, said: “Our red meat, pork, poultry and fish sectors employ over 11,000 people and last year contributed over £2.4 billion in revenue to the local economy. Together with CAFRE, we want to encourage more businesses operating in these sector to explore innovative measures to support their growth and continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food processing industry.”

He added: “Adding value to products and processes and making efficiencies for example can make a considerable difference to a business’ bottom line. This event will help to improve the competitiveness and capability of local companies as they seek to grow in ever competitive markets outside Northern Ireland.”

Representatives from Moy Park, Food First Consulting and Hannan Meats outlined the importance of innovation in the development of their businesses while Redbrook Ingredients briefed delegates on the current flavour and ingredient trends. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board also presented some of the trends and consumer insight for the meat industry.

Joy Alexander, Head of Food Technology, CAFRE, said: “To remain competitive our food businesses must continue to utilise our world class raw materials to produce innovative products which meet the needs of consumers. We at CAFRE, are delighted to once again partner with Invest NI to promote the importance of food innovation and showcase the support services available.”

Invest NI offers free advice and support available in areas such as business information, innovation and technology solutions, research and development, design, e-business, sustainable development, skills and strategy solutions, trade development and food marketing.

CAPTION:

Pictured at the event are (left to right): Malachy O’Connor, Retail Consultant; John Hood, Invest NI; Peter Hannan, Hannan Meats; Joy Alexander, CAFRE; Sukhvinder Gill, AHDB; and Guy Wootton, Moy Park.

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Landmark New Irish Whiskey Mentoring Programme

The Irish Whiskey Association has launched a landmark new mentoring programme, which will bring established global players in the Irish whiskey industry together with new entrants to the market. The aim of this unique new mentoring programme is to ensure that new entrants to the category have access to the information and support they need to produce high quality Irish whiskey that global consumers expect.

The Irish whiskey market is the fastest growing spirits category in the world and has grown by an impressive 200% in the last decade. This unique programme will see established industry leaders mentor new entrants in the market and provide them with the necessary support and guidance to ensure the success not only of their new businesses but also the future and growth of the Irish whiskey category.  The programme kicked off with a workshop hosted by the Irish Whiskey Association where industry experts from a number of companies shared their knowledge on issues such as production, health and safety, licensing requirements, branding and route to market.

IrishWhiskeyAssociationLogoThe programme will consist of three further stages and participants will be able to access a new one stop shop online portal to help them plan their business. Stages 3 and 4 will focus on active mentoring where mentor companies such as Irish Distillers and Bushmills will be paired with new entrants. These stages will involve planning, design, construction and commissioning. The last stage will focus on production, highlighting the importance of ensuring that the high quality premium nature of the category is maintained.

Miriam Mooney, Head of the Irish Whiskey Association, says: “This is a unique programme which will see industry leaders support new market entrants and showcases the collegiality amongst industry and members of the Irish Whiskey Association. The mentor companies will share information, expertise and knowledge with new entrants enabling them to plan and succeed in the Irish whiskey business whilst at the same time upholding the integrity of the brand.”

Participant in the new mentoring programme, Bernard Walsh, Chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association and CEO of Walsh Distillery, says: “The Irish whiskey industry is at a pivotal moment in its history. We know that there is huge consumer appetite for our products globally, we only have to look across the water to Scotland with 108 distilleries in operation to see what’s possible. This initiative today is very welcome and the mentor companies are to be applauded for investing their expertise in new projects, to ensure high standards are maintained. For the industry to grow and compete internationally with scotch and bourbon products we cannot compromise on quality. The advice and support of industry experts is invaluable in helping companies navigate what can be difficult and complex issues.”

David Quinn, Technical Director, Irish Distillers, comments; “Irish Distillers are delighted to be taking part in what is an industry first and we look forward to working with new entrants to the sector to provide both advice and practical support. We all share a passion for creating a quality product and are committed to the protection of this globally recognised brand.”

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Big Turnout at Teagasc National Beef Conference

Large numbers of beef farms attended the recent Teagasc National Beef Conference. The theme for the conference was putting ‘Practice into Profit’, and speaking at the opening of the conference, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Teagasc through its research, advisory and education programmes will continue to play a huge role in working with farmers and the beef industry to ensure that technologies, such as those that were discussed today, would be put into practice on farms, thus leading to more sustainable and profitable beef systems on Irish farms over the coming years.”

Rob Prendiville, Teagasc researcher, presented the latest research coming from Johnstown Castle where many different systems of dairy calf-to-beef have been evaluated in recent years. His key message was: “Systems that utilise high quantities of pasture and which are focused on high output per hectare are fundamental to the profitability of calf to beef systems.”

Martin Kavanagh, consultant vet with Cow Solutions, gave a paper on the practical factors which affect calf health in indoor calf rearing systems.  Martin Kavanagh emphasised that: “The environment the young calf is in is critical in maintaining the health of bought in calves and that good management input can solve many issues that otherwise would compromise the immune system and disease burdens on these calves.”

IrishBeefCookedCompressedAlan Kehoe, a young beef farmer from County Wexford, explained how he has built up a calf to beef enterprise on his home farm since returning from Australia in 2012.  He now rears 120 calves each year and brings them through to beef.  Alan Kehoe said: “The three year plan I put in place with my Teagasc advisor set clear targets for me to achieve and by following this plan, especially in the areas of grassland management, I am on target to return a gross margin of over €1,200 per hectare from my beef enterprise in 2018.”

Thierry Pabiou of ICBF presented a paper on behalf of Laurent Griffon of the Institut de l’Elevage in Paris. He outlined how the French beef cattle performance recording system is collecting the weights from over 1.2 million beef animals on farms before they are 300 days of age, and that this level of recording is the base of the French national beef breeding scheme.  This was followed by a paper given by County Tipperary suckler farmer, David Clarke, who explained that through the recording of calving and breeding data, along with birth and weaning liveweights over a long number of years, the accuracy of the replacement index of the suckler cows on his farm were now much higher than the national average which gives him the confidence to make much more informed breeding decisions when it comes to selecting which animals he will breed from.

The last paper of the conference was presented by Teagasc geneticist, Donagh Berry, who described how over the coming years beef genomics will be about much more than just increasing the reliability of the beef breeding indices. He said: “There are many uses for genomics including parentage verification, mating advice to minimise inbreeding, monitoring of major genes or unfavourable DNA mutations, as well as increased accuracy of genetic evaluations.”

The full proceedings for the Teagasc National Beef Conference are available at

https://www.teagasc.ie/media/website/publications/2016/Beef-Conference_2016_Proceedings.pdf

CAPTION:

Pictured at the Teagasc National Beef Conference were from (L to R):  Rob Prendiville, Beef Researcher, Teagasc; Martin Kavanagh, Consultant Vet, Cow Solutions; Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc, Director; and Tom Kellegher, Regional Manager – Roscommon/Longford, Teagasc.

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New Video Provides Easy Training For Homogenizer Maintenance

As part of its investment in comprehensive support services, SPX FLOW has released a new video that provides maintenance personnel with detailed instruction and training on how to inspect and maintain its leading APV Gaulin homogenizers. SPX FLOW’s APV Gaulin range of homogenizers have been proven to offer leading dispersion results across a wide range of applications into a variety of industries including dairy, food, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The experience and understanding SPX FLOW has of this process ensures optimal results for even the most sophisticated emulsions. To preserve optimum performance, however, the equipment needs to be properly maintained. A new step-by-step online video gives maintenance personnel clear and detailed instructions on how to remove and inspect packing gland components, plungers and check valves as well as inspection of drive belts to ensure machine reliability and performance is well maintained.

SPX FLOW’s growing library of online service videos helps to support its customers as efficiently as possible; giving them easy access to the information they need to keep their process equipment operating smoothly and economically. The videos provide clear and easy to follow visual guides that technicians can use to make sure work is being carried out correctly and safely while utilizing genuine SPX FLOW parts.

The new APV Gaulin homogenizer maintenance and inspection training video can be found on SPX FLOW’s YouTube channel.

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Education is Vital to a Life With Perspective

‘Because education matters’ is the motto of Austria’s HAAS, a company which is engaged in supporting a bakery apprentice workshop and helping needy children in Korogocho, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Irene Kapaun, HAAS Marketing Communication & Public Relations Manager recently visited Nairobi in order to report about the project’s progress.

Streets are choked in garbage in Korogocho. There is no sewage system. During periods of rainfall the entire area is flooded and wastewater flows through the provisional barracks. Water is expensive, scarce and frequently polluted.

“We want to help create a future worth living for Korogocho’s children,” Irene Kapaun explained. Active measures against malnutrition amongst children include the establishment of an integrated training bakery at a local school. HAAS supports a project entitled ‘bread and education for a better future’, which ensures that children are not only offered a nutritious meal every day, but also an education enabling them to provide for themselves as adults.

Within the project, 98 children in primary schools are cared for. In addition to one hot meal every day children are provided with fresh fruit as well as basic medical care.

Schools and Apprenticeships

The project’s team helps children regain a normal life with structured daily routines. A special rehabilitation program helps drug addicted children, but above all, the school offers psycho-social support, a sort of home, a secure space. “The measures have changed their lives dramatically: They have found their self-esteem, they have new hope for the future,” said Irene Kapaun.

Once the children finish school they can enrol in apprenticeship courses to become bakers. A European master baker trains the young students in collaboration with African bakers. “In these two-year courses students learn the basic skills of the bakery trade and after graduation, they are well equipped to find employment or to open their own businesses: Well trained professionals are still hard to find in Nairobi,” Irene Kapaun pointed out.

“A lack of education results in a lack of self-confidence and courage. Adults who are well-trained and educated will become self-sufficient and able to lead independent lives. With the financial support of ‘bread and education for a better future’ we are helping to give the children in the slums of Nairobi an education and an opportunity to learn a promising profession,” she said.

Haas supports the bakery until the end of 2016. “We are very happy, that the bakery will be able to finance itself until the end of the year. Congratulations to our project partners! Education is still close to our hearts and therefore we will continue our engagement in the future.” Irene Kapaun noticed in advance.

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University College Cork Launches a New, Innovative Qualification for the Dairy Industry

University College Cork has introduced a new postgraduate qualification dedicated to the dairy industry. Dairy processing is a very significant pillar of the Irish economy. In 2013 export values for Irish dairy products and ingredients exceeded €3 billion making an enormous contribution to the domestic economy. The industry exports 85% of all output produced, making Ireland the 10th largest dairy export nation globally.

Ireland’s dairy industry produces a wide range of consumer products and dairy ingredients. Consumer dairy products including butter, cheese, and dairy-derived products such as yogurts and dairy-based drinks, have now been complemented with dairy ingredients including milk-fat, milk protein, and other nutritional ingredients to cater to infant formula and sports nutrition markets amongst others. The increased sophistication and complexity of the dairy product portfolio has been underpinned by significant advances in dairy sciences led by UCC and Teagasc in addition to the industry’s clear focus on constantly evolving trends in consumers’ lifestyles and consumption behaviours.

In recognition of the growth and diversification of the Irish dairy industry, UCC, in association with Teagasc, has developed a highly innovative, industry-focused, part-time, blended-learning Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Technology and Innovation. This qualification is aimed to support the further education and training needs of people at work in the dairy industry.

Modules include milk production and quality, dairy chemistry, trends and dynamics across dairy markets, dairy processing technology, dairy microbiology and business processes across the supply chain.

In line with the development of a knowledge economy, this qualification will enable and empower dairy industry personnel and those wishing to join the industry to implement best practice and embrace new technological developments in dairy processing.

The programme will be market-led and delivered via blended learning, ie a mix of online and in-class sessions, designed to facilitate people at work in industry.

CAPTION:

Pictured at the launch of the new Postgraduate Certificate in Dairy Technology and Innovation were (left to right): Dr Dan O’Callaghan, Wyeth Nutritionals Ireland; Dr Seamus O’Mahony, UCC; Professor Paul McSweeney, UCC; and Dr Mark Fenelon, Teagasc, Moorepark.

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Dairy Crest Innovation Centre at Harper Adams University Opens

The Dairy Crest Innovation Centre at the Harper Adams University campus, Newport, Shropshire has been opened. The new facility was opened by The Princess Royal, the Chancellor of Harper Adams University. Her Royal Highness was accompanied throughout her visit by Stephen Alexander (Chairman, Dairy Crest), Mark Allen (Chief Executive, Dairy Crest) and Dr David Llewellyn (Vice-Chancellor, Harper Adams University).

Her Royal Highness was particularly interested to hear about the knowledge sharing partnership between Dairy Crest and Harper Adams University – a unique development between a major food business and a University. The partnership means a number of students will spend time working within Dairy Crest on 12 month placements and one-off projects. It also gives Dairy Crest access to research, staff and students at the University.

The state of the art facilities at the Innovation Centre include development kitchens, a pilot plant and the laboratories.

Mark Allen, Chief Executive of Dairy Crest, says: “Building brands and adding value is fundamental to everything we do at Dairy Crest. Innovation is at the heart of our strategy. I am particularly excited that the Dairy Crest Innovation Centre, which is home to our research and development and technical teams, is built on the campus of Harper Adams University. The university is well known and respected for its leading role in food, farming and science education.”

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Welsh Industry Ambassadors Reach Out to Students

A team of five young people have been appointed to act as ambassadors to inspire a new generation of young people to work in the food and drink industry. The project, being run by The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) is part of the ‘Tasty Careers Wales’ initiative, designed to promote Wales’ food and drink sector as a an attractive place to work.

Ross Taylor (24), Christian Davies (23), Craig Messruther (25), Robert Powell (24) and Steffan Evans (18) were nominated by their employers – Cardiff based Finsbury Food Group, agricultural business Dunbia, which has sites in Ceredigion and Lampeter, and 2 Sisters Food Group site in Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan – to undergo ambassador training with NSAFD to help promote the food and drink industry.

After undergoing comprehensive training, the young ambassadors will now visit schools in Wales to speak with students about the career opportunities available in the food and drink sector. Employed in a variety of roles, from Operations to Engineering, the five young ambassadors will be able to give an overview of the sector and explain the routes they took to secure their own careers.

Food and drink manufacturing is one of the largest Welsh manufacturing sectors, worth £4.3billion. The sector employs 22,000 people, has a growth target of £7billion by 2020, and exports have increased by 82% in the last five years.

Craig Messruther.

Craig Messruther.

The Welsh food and drink manufacturing industry already employs more people than most other sectors, with 4,000 more new jobs predicted to be generated by 2020.  However, the sector is facing the threat of a generational time-bomb as many people in senior roles are due to retire in the next five years. In order to plug the gap, the industry is under pressure to urgently recruit new talent.

The ambassador scheme is part of Tasty Careers Wales, an initiative launched in January, which brings together industry career information and live industry vacancies to make them instantly accessible to young people and to help secure the next generation of food and drink manufacturing talent. The scheme is supported by a website – www.tastycareerswales.org.uk – which features straight-talking descriptions of typical job roles across nine different categories, including production operations, buying, engineering, bakery and marketing, as well as career progression routes and case-studies of featured ambassadors.

Schools who wish to book an ambassador to speak to their students should contact Lydia Edwards on l.edwards@nsafd.co.uk.

Justine Fosh, Chief Executive of NSAFD, says: “We believe peer-to-peer education is the key to promoting the food and drink industry as an attractive place to work. There are some very exciting opportunities available, with clear paths for progression and attractive salaries and benefits. It’s vital that we attract the next generation of talent to our sector to safeguard its future.”

 

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£8 Million Skills Investment by Moy Park

Northern Ireland-based poultry processor Moy Park is to invest £8 million in implementing a skills and development programme across the group over the next four years. Invest Northern Ireland has offered Moy Park £1.4million towards its skills programme, which is designed to support the continued growth of this leading European food business.

Moy Park is the second largest player in the UK poultry sector and employs 6,300 across its Northern Ireland based processing facilities in Craigavon, Dungannon and Ballymena.

Moy Park’s HR Director Europe, Mike Mullan comments: “As one of Europe’s leading food companies, we are committed to supporting our team members with outstanding training and development opportunities. This significant investment in skills and training, supported by Invest Northern Ireland, will be instrumental in sustaining our continual transformation, growth and improvement.”

He adds: “People are at the heart of Moy Park. As a values-led company we continue to make major investments in our industry leading agriculture and processing facilities and it is essential that we champion and develop the capabilities of our people to take the business forward.”

Moy Park employs around 12,000 people across 14 processing facilities in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England, France and The Netherlands. The company was recently awarded the IGD John Sainsbury Learning and Development Award in recognition of its best in class approach to people development.

Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell says: “Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s largest employer and this £8million investment in skills development reinforces the company’s commitment to continuous improvement as a means to remaining competitive in its target markets. Invest Northern Ireland has been working closely in recent years to help the manufacturer introduce lean techniques and supply chain management measures. This latest investment has enabled Moy Park to implement a comprehensive suite of training and learning initiatives across the entire company workforce, looking at leadership and management development, technical competences and functional skills.”

CAPTION:

Pictured (left to right): Katharine Strain, Head of Talent and Organisational Development at Moy Park; Northern Ireland Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell; and Mike Mullan, Moy Park HR Director (Europe).

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Elanders invests in staff training

Chris HewittThe print, packaging and supply chain company’s administration assistant Nicole Degnan has enrolled on a Level 3, Print Administration Modern Apprenticeship and trainee printer Craig Reid has signed up to a Professional Development Award (PDA).

Chris Hewitt, managing director at Elanders said: “We’re proud of the talent we have at Elanders and want to up-skill to retain our valued employees, that’s why we’re supporting Nicole and Craig in getting these qualifications which validate their competencies and transferrable skills in the UK and beyond.”

The company specialises in printing for luxury packaging and labelling for the drinks industry, with a strong heritage in Scottish whisky through its acquisition of McNaughtans the Printers in 2013.

Elanders, founded in 1989, is a Swedish printing company doing business in ten countries and directing a number of subsidiaries.

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Meet the Winners of first ever Verner Wheelock Excellence Awards

The team at Symingtons receive their award from Alison Wheelock and Karen Naylor

The team at Symingtons receive their award from Alison Wheelock and Karen Naylor

Verner Wheelock, the Yorkshire-based award-winning food industry training company, has announced the recipients of its first ever Excellence Awards.

The Awards were launched in 2015 to coincide with the company’s 25th anniversary and recognise the achievements of students attending their courses throughout that year.

There were five Awards up for grabs: HACCP Student of the Year, Food Safety Student of the Year, Auditing Student of the Year, Individual Excellence and Company of the Year.

The winners were those students Verner Wheelock course tutors felt were outstanding. This did not necessarily mean that they had gained the highest examination results; other factors were also considered such as overcoming adversity, a passion for the subject and a desire to interact with fellow delegates and get the most out of the training experience.

HACCP Student of the Year was awarded to Emily Claydon, a Quality Assurance Graduate at Taylor’s of Harrogate; the Food Safety Student of the Year went to Joanna Core, Quality Assurance Manager at New Ivory Sauces based in Elland, West Yorkshire and the Auditing Student of the Year was announced as Helen Keast, Raw Materials Manager at Bakkavor Desserts in Highbridge, Somerset.

Helen, Joanne and Emily were selected because each had demonstrated an exceptionally high level of competence and understanding during advanced level training in their respective subjects. The practical application of the skills they obtained will have made a significant impact on the day-to-day operations of their companies. Their aptitude was reflected in their outstanding examination results. All received distinctions.

William Ptolemy, Technical Manager at Sykes House Farm, a qualilty meat and poultry suppliers in Wetherby, won the individual Excellence Award. The tutors agreed unanimously that William was the obvious choice for this Award.

MD Alison Wheelock said “Will has undertaken several training courses with us, including Level 4 HACCP, which he found challenging but by putting the hard work in he achieved this advanced level qualification. What made him stand out is the fact that he always participates in course discussions, even if the conversation does not directly relate to his area of expertise. He’s also keen to see training filtered down through his company. As one of the tutors put it, he’s a ‘real joy to teach’.”

Emily Claydon receives her award from Karen Naylor of Verner Wheelock

Emily Claydon receives her award from Karen Naylor of Verner Wheelock

Leeds-based branded convenience food producer, Symington’s Ltd was the winner of the Verner Wheelock Company of the Year Excellence Award.

Alison commented:  “We chose Symington’s for the Award because the delegates interact and put effort in. They genuinely want to learn and put their knowledge into practise in the workplace. Symington’s have a history of training with Verner Wheelock and delegates have attended a variety of courses with us. As a result we understand their business requirements and we work very well together. The delegates’ hard work is reflected in their excellent examination results and national awards.”

As a result of training with Verner Wheelock, delegates from Symingtons (Lianne Davis and Sarah Jolly-Hart) have won the RSPH Award for Level 4 Food Safety in Manufacturing for two years running by achieving the highest examination results in the UK.

Verner Wheelock is one of the UK’s leading training companies for the food industry. The company is based on the Broughton Hall estate in Skipton, North Yorkshire and was founded in 1990 by food industry expert Dr Verner Wheelock.

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Nestlé and First Milk Launch Unique Programme to Develop Next Generation of Dairy leaders

Nestlé and First Milk, the UK dairy farmers co-operative, have launched the Next Generation Dairy Leaders Programme, a scheme for young farmers that aims to identify, nurture and develop the next generation of dairy leaders. The two year programme will focus on a small group of the most innovative First Milk Farmers supplying to Nestlé’s factories in Girvan, Scotland and Dalston, Cumbria.

Throughout the course the attendees will attend a series of events to learn about dairy industry politics, advanced farm management, financial management and effective communication to provide them with the practical tools and confidence to step forward and take a lead. The farmers will take part in a number of activities to help improve their knowledge of the global dairy industry and give them a greater understanding of the dairy supply chain from field to consumer.

The participants will also get the chance to visit Nestlé’s UK factories to learn about the company’s supply chain and how the quality of their milk impacts production performance.

The programme forms part of Nestlé’s long-term partnership with First Milk to improve the sustainability of their farms and develop a more sustainable and efficient supply chain with a reducing environmental impact.

Mike Gallacher, chief executive of First Milk, says: “The investment from Nestle in supporting the long term sustainability of UK dairy farming goes well beyond other businesses in many areas. The launch of the Nestlé Next Generation Farmer Program demonstrates that long term commitment in providing outstanding development for our best young farmers of the future. This initiative is even more important taking place as it does against a hugely challenging context for UK farmers. It is critical that our future farmers have the best possible training and development so they can step up and compete what will be an increasingly global and competitive future.”

Robin Sundaram, responsible sourcing lead – milk buyer, Nestlé UK & Ireland, remarks: “We are very excited about this new initiative that takes the sustainability journey we are on with our farmers to a new level. We believe that this will enable our farmers to get a much wider perspective of the dairy industry and importantly the role their milk plays in the Nestlé supply chain.”

The Nestlé First Milk Partnership comprises 106 farmers in Ayrshire, Wigtownshire and Cumbria providing high quality fresh milk used in the manufacture of brands such as Kit Kat and Nescafe Café Menu. The sustainability programme is focussed on five priorities as follows: milk quality, lean farming methods (enabling a reduction in GHG emissions), environmental sustainability (soil, water and biodiversity), the next generation of farmers and animal welfare.

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Northern Ireland Bakery and Snacks Businesses Encouraged to Grow through Innovation

John Hood, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of Food and Tourism, has encouraged over 40 producers from Northern Ireland’s bakery and snacks sector to explore innovation to support business growth.

Speaking at a seminar jointly hosted by Invest NI and CAFRE (College of Agriculture and Rural Enterprise), John Hood said: “Northern Ireland’s bakery and snacks sector remains very competitive, with businesses continually needing to invest in innovation and skills to remain profitable. Responding to the needs of the sector, as identified by the Agri-Food Strategy Board’s Bakery and Snacks sub group, this event will help to improve the competitiveness and capability of local companies as they seek to grow in ever competitive markets outside Northern Ireland.”

He added: “Together with CAFRE, we want to encourage more local businesses to explore innovative measures to support their growth and continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food processing industry. Extending a product’s shelf life, for example, can help deliver greater export opportunities, while implementing efficiencies in a product’s distribution can reduce costs. Innovation is key to success and Invest NI and CAFRE have advice and support designed to help local producers in this sector to embrace innovation in all its forms.”

The bakery and snacks sector is a very strong contributor to Agri-Food in Northern Ireland and includes the production of bread, bread products, biscuits, buns, pies and pastry as well as hand-held snacks and food-to-go products. The delegates discussed the importance of product innovation, market trends, and seasonal opportunities. The group also got an overview of the support available from Invest NI, as well as viewing the technical facilities provided in the Food Innovation Centre at CAFRE.

Joy Alexander, Head of Food Technology, CAFRE, commented: “We at CAFRE, Loughry Campus are delighted to be jointly organising and hosting this important Food Innovation Seminar, targeted at the Bakery and Snacks Sector. We have an agri-food industry which we can be justifiably proud of, but the challenge which faces everyone is to continue to develop world class products which meet the needs of an ever discerning consumer, wherever in the world that consumer may be. I encourage food companies to work in partnership with Invest NI and Loughry and explore the many opportunities available for innovation support.”

Invest NI offers free advice and support available in areas such as business information, innovation and technology solutions, research and development, design, e-business, sustainable development, skills and strategy solutions, trade development and food marketing.

CAPTION:

Pictured (back – from left to right) are: Joy Alexander from CAFRE; John Hood, Invest NI; and Ronan McNamee, co-founder of Cuisine De France and founder of BFree Foods. Sitting are: Keri Cummings (left), Category Marketing Executive at Macphie of Glenbervie; and Lisa Boswell, Trade Marketing Manager, CSM Bakery Solutions.

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NSAFD Cooks Up Tasty Careers For Wales

The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) has launched Tasty Careers Wales – an initiative to promote jobs and careers in the food and drink industry to young people.

The Tasty Careers initiative brings together industry career information and live industry vacancies to make them instantly accessible to young people and to help secure the next generation of food and drink manufacturing talent.

The website – www.tastycareerswales.org.uk – features straight-talking descriptions of typical job roles across nine different categories, including production operations, buying, engineering, bakery and marketing, as well as career progression routes and case-studies of NSAFD ambassadors.

Justine Fosh, Chief Executive of NSAFD, says: “Food and drink manufacturing is one of the largest Welsh manufacturing sectors, worth £4.3 billion. The sector employs 22,000 people, has a growth target of £7 billion by 2020, and exports have increased by 82% in the last five years to now stand at more than £313 million annually.

“Although the Welsh food and drink manufacturing industry already employs more people than most other sectors, with 4,000 more jobs predicted to appear by 2020, we need many more new recruits in order to meet that growth. Tasty Careers Wales is a great platform to encourage young people into food and drink manufacturing, as well as being a solid recruitment pipeline for businesses within the sector.”

The NSAFD is the main source of training, careers and information for the UK’s food and drink industry, as well as being the mouthpiece for the industry. It is working in partnership with Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Government and Careers Wales on the Tasty Careers Wales campaign.

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Teagasc Launches Professional Knowledge Network For Irish Agri-Food Sector

A new and innovative professional knowledge programme, Teagasc ConnectEd has been launched. It will extend Teagasc’s knowledge transfer and research programmes to rural professionals and businesses in Ireland. The Teagasc ConnectEd Programme has been developed to provide high quality knowledge programmes for professionals and businesses that provide essential services and support to farmers and the Irish agri-food sector.

Rob Peters, Head of Research and Innovation, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, says: “The ConnectEd programme fits well with the underlying philosophy of the European Innovation Partnership for agriculture to enhance interaction between science and practice and to facilitate communication and networking among stakeholders.”

Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle remarks: “The Teagasc ConnectEd programme was born from the need to enhance knowledge resources to services and professionals that support the agri-food sector. The dissemination, and importantly the application, of knowledge at all levels within the agri-food sector will be crucial if we are to achieve the targets set out in the FoodWise 2025 strategy.”

Mark Gibson, Teagasc ConnectEd Programme Manager, adds: “The programme seeks to leverage the extensive knowledge base that Teagasc maintains and has been designed specifically to meet the needs of professionals and businesses working with the agri-food sector. Businesses can now join the ConnectEd Programme and benefit from Ireland’s largest agri-food knowledge base. I look forward to working closely with industry stakeholders and agri-related businesses across the country in developing knowledge transfer programmes to meet their specific needs.”

Businesses interested in finding out more about Teagasc ConnectEd can visit the new website www.teagasc.ie/connected.

CAPTION:

Pictured at the Launch of the Teagasc ConnectEd Programme were from (L to R):  Rob Peters, EU Commission; Philip O’Connor, IFAC; Michael Tennyson, Agricultural Consultants Association; Mark Gibson, Teagasc; Prof Gerry Boyle, Teagasc; Tom Murphy, PAC Ireland; and John Gilmore, FarmLab Diagnostics.

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Tetra Pak and DeLaval Commit to Up-skill Dairy Farm Management in China

Tetra Pak and DeLaval, sister companies in the Tetra Laval Group, have signed a five year agreement with the Dairy Association of China to provide training to Chinese dairy farm managers. The signing ceremony was attended by both the Chinese and Swedish Ministers of Agriculture, who have a Memorandum of Understanding to increase co-operation in agriculture.

Since 2008, the Chinese government has been driving a transition from household farming activities, involving just a handful of cows, to medium- or large-sized farms, which have more than 100 milk-producing cows. Their aim is to improve farming efficiency, increase product quality and enhance standards of animal welfare. By 2020, the government hopes to raise the proportion of dairy cows reared on such farms to 60%, compared with 45% today. However, a shortage of qualified managers, capable of running operations of this scale, threatens to prevent them from achieving that ambition.

Through the agreement signed today, 150 managers will be trained during the next five years, providing them with the skills required to run larger-scale dairy farms.

Professor Li Shengli, Professor of the China Agricultural University and Chief Scientist of Dairy Farming engaged by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculturem says: “China’s liquid milk consumption is still low, at less than 20 litres per capita. This is approximately half the average consumption in Asia, and one fifth the average in Europe.  However, rising disposable income, combined with people’s desire to improve their quality of life, means the size and growth potential of the domestic market is huge; China must develop its own dairy farming industry.”

“We are happy to see that Tetra Pak and DeLaval are taking the initiative to help us bridge the skill gap in the Chinese farming sector. Once trained, these individuals will be able to share their knowledge with their peers and, in turn, help raise the standard of farming in China,” he adds.

The training programme covers many different areas of dairy farm management, including breeding, nutrition and disease prevention.  It will be delivered through lectures at the China Agricultural University, a two-month internship at a model farm in China, and culminate in the opportunity to visit and study at DeLaval’s Hamra farm and other dairy farms in Sweden.

Tetra Pak CEO, Dennis Jönsson comments: “This is a demonstration of our commitment to China. For more than 30 years we have been working with the Chinese government to help grow the dairy industry sustainably.  China is in an exciting new phase of development in dairy farming and as an industry leader, we have a key role to play in improving performance.”

DeLaval CEO, Joakim Rosengren says: “At DeLaval we are committed to creating sustainable food production. Our operations in China and co-operation with Tetra Pak means we have been able to help develop the dairy industry over the years. This agreement demonstrates that all parties are committed to China and that we are on the right tracks. We look forward to continuing along this path so that we can help dairy business managers thrive sustainably under the best conditions possible.”

Tetra Pak and DeLaval have been working hand-in-hand on dairy farming projects in China since 2003. Their first collaboration sought to upgrade farms that provided raw milk to China’s School Feeding Programme; by 2014, all 194 farms involved in the project had reached EU quality standards. The companies’ joint efforts also include developing virtual training to farmers through TV programmes and the free distribution of educational DVDs and booklets.

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Hallam and Nestlé UK Launch Ground-breaking Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeships

The first young people have signed up to begin a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship with Sheffield Hallam University and Nestlé UK, a new kind of apprenticeship that leads to a degree, a guaranteed job and membership of the Chartered Management Institute.

Thirteen apprentices have signed a commitment statement, marking the official start of the three year placement. The scheme will see apprentices taking up full time roles within Nestlé whilst also spending six weeks a year studying at Hallam’s Sheffield Business School.

On successful completion of the scheme, apprentices will gain a degree from Sheffield Hallam, be offered a permanent job by Nestlé and become professional member of the Chartered Management Institute.

In addition apprentices will also see their course fees funded by the company and receive a salary during their placement.

Initially thirteen apprentices will be studying on the programme, split between Nestlé’s Gatwick Head Office and the Confectionery Headquarters in York.

Higher and degree apprenticeships at Hallam began in September 2015 after the University successfully bid for funding over 240 higher apprentices (HAs) from the Skills Funding Agency, the highest allocation for any university.

Building on extensive expertise in working with business and professional bodies, Sheffield Hallam University offers a range of higher apprenticeships including engineering, business and management, facilities management and construction.

Professor Isobel Doole, current Dean of Sheffield Business School says: “We are proud to be pioneering new Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, which will give young people an outstanding opportunity to become the next generation of business leaders. We have worked closely with Nestlé to create these bespoke, ground-breaking new programmes, which are designed to give apprentices all the skills they need to succeed in management.”

Dame Fiona Kendrick, CEO & Chairman of Nestlé UK&I, adds: “Nestle are delighted to be part of this programme, the first of its kind in the food industry. This is the next step on Nestlé’s journey to creating flexible entry points and varied career development opportunities for young people in the UK.”

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Moy Park Scoops Top Learning and Development Accolade

Moy Park has been recognised for its best in class approach to people development, picking up the IGD John Sainsbury Learning and Development Award at the prestigious IGD Awards 2015. The IGD awards celebrate the best in the UK food and grocery industry, and are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the industry.

Moy Park was recognised by the judges for its fundamental commitment to business improvement by nurturing and developing its people, and were also commended for their passion and enthusiasm for learning.

Mike Mullan, Moy Park HR Director Europe, says: “We are truly delighted to have won this award as it is a celebration of the terrific recognition of the whole Moy Park team on our journey of continual learning and development. Tangible results of our learning and development programmes include significant improvements in company performance, safety performance and overall employee engagement levels.”

Stuart Comer, Head of Learning & Development at Sainsbury’s, says: “Moy Park’s Leadership Development Framework brought the business together across countries, categories and functions; made a continued commitment over a number of years; transformed the business culture; achieved and sustained real tangible results; and built the support of a large number of passionate and enthusiastic participants.”

CAPTION:

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury; Mike Mullan, Moy Park HR Director Europe; Andrew Nethercott, Moy Park Director of Sales; and television personality Rachel Riley.

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Morrisons Upskills Production Staff Thanks to Grimsby Institute Training

A national supermarket chain, which has a fish and seafood processing unit in Grimsby, has saved training costs and improved the skills of its workforce with the help of a course delivered by the Grimsby Institute Group. Morrisons PLC wanted to increase and improve the skills set of its employees, whilst making the business more compliant with food safety standards. However, in order to maintain a high level of training and keep costs within budget, the company wanted to deliver this in-house.

Morrisons’s site training officer, Helen Sharp (pictured), attended the Grimsby Institute to gain a Level 4 in Food Safety qualification, which enables her to deliver training to a Level 3.

She explains: “To be able to deliver a certain level of training, you have to have achieved the level above. We wanted to train people to a Level 3 in Food Safety, to give them greater knowledge of the issues surrounding this subject and bring some staff to a more senior level. This meant I had to upskill myself first.”

Helen Sharp continues: “The course delivered at Grimsby Institute was great. It was thorough and flexible, as I was able to attend one day a week over six weeks, which fitted in well with my working hours. The course covered everything from legal issues and legislation, to procedures, processes and practical elements such as pest control, temperature management, and contamination reduction and control.”

The Grimsby Institute Group encourages businesses like Morrisons to maximise their skills base through effective professional development and training. Through its business-focused training team, the Group offers a wide variety of business training services to companies in the region, helping them realise and develop the potential of their employees.

Lesley Charlesworth-Browne, director of business and professional development at the Grimsby Institute Group, says: “Investing in your employees will give you the competitive edge that is essential in today’s economy. There’s no place like Grimsby Institute for this region’s business. We are responsive, flexible, reliable and proven in delivering exceptional education, training and skills development.”

Lesley Charlesworth-Browne adds: “We offer short courses which give employees skills and knowledge in a day to a few weeks, as well as longer programmes which develop skills and knowledge and provide recognised qualifications. We work closely with businesses to ensure that they receive exactly what’s best for their company and their team to develop, progress and thrive.”

The Grimsby Institute Group currently works with a wide range of companies, from sole traders, partnerships and SMEs, to large national and international organisations. It has operated in many sectors and provided support at every level.

The Grimsby Institute Group knows training and employee development comes at a price, so they can help you get the most from your budget. They can advise you on the most cost-effective routes to funding and carefully guide you through the application process, making it simple and straightforward. Contact the Grimsby Institute Group’s business development team to discuss your needs on 0800 012 6656 or email: training@grimsby.ac.uk

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Kilkenny Food Initiative Set to Tackle Ireland’s Chef Shortage

A County Kilkenny based community led initiative that serves as an educational food hub for the Southeast is to become the first such organisation to launch an internationally recognised certified professional cookery course. An innovative concept for the Southeast and Ireland, ‘School of Food’ and its first fully certified Professional Cookery programme comes as a response to the shortage of professionally qualified chefs in Ireland. The programme has received funding from Fáilte Ireland and LEADER.

One of only five chef training colleges in Ireland, the course will be delivered in a unique format combining work based learning with a three day a week college based attendance. The School of Food are seeking to encourage those interested in gaining professional cookery qualifications to take part in the 34 week QQI Level 5 certificate course. Commencing on Monday, October 5th, the 34 week programme will be open to all school leavers and culinary staff wishing to up-skill.

“We are delighted to offer this opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career as a professional chef. The School of Food is itself a unique concept in that it serves the community of Kilkenny and the South East as a hub for food education. We have some of the best tutors available and state of the art facilities making this an exciting project. This course is our first to launch and it will serve as a pipeline for hotel and restaurant kitchens dedicated to food excellence.” explains Mags Morrissey, Coordinator with the School of Food.

With recent figures from the Restaurant Association of Ireland revealing an urgent need for 5,000 new professional chefs each year by 2020, the ‘School of Food’ programme will serve to extend Ireland’s growing reputation as a top culinary destination. In 2014, over 24,000 chefs were employed in Ireland and the majority of jobs in the hospitality sector directly relate to the food services sector. Each year, only 1,800 chefs qualify from certified culinary training programmes meaning there is an immediate deficit of the 5,000 chefs trainees required annually.

“We want to be able to market Ireland as a centre of food excellence, a true culinary experience with world-class chefs leading the way. The School of Food in Thomastown is a welcome addition to culinary education in Ireland. Given the chef shortage there is huge potential for jobs in professional cookery and the School of Food Professional Cookery programme will give students an excellent introduction to culinary education with on the job training.” says Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association of Ireland.

John Mulcahy, Head of Hospitality with Fáilte Ireland, explains: “Visitors to Ireland regard a great food experience as one of the key drivers of satisfaction when they are here so it is important that we get it right. A great food experience needs expert handling of local food in a hospitable setting, both of which provide an unforgettable holiday memory to share with friends and family.  Well trained chefs at all levels are crucial if we are to achieve this, which is why Fáilte Ireland is collaborating with the School of Food on this professional cookery programme. We are delighted to be supporting this programme which will provide graduates with significant opportunities in a very active and growing tourism industry.”

Having opened in January 2015, the School of Food is a custom developed food education and incubation centre aiming to attract professional and amateur cookery students. Located in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, the initiative operates with assistance from Kilkenny LEADER to promote the county as a food destination supporting the production and promotion of local, quality food ingredients.

For more information, visit www.schooloffood.ie  or email info@schooloffood.ie

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Bord Bia and PWC Help Irish Food Industry Scale New Heights

Bord Bia, supported by PWC, has launched a new initiative aimed at helping medium-sized food and drink companies address their ‘growing pains’. According to Bord Bia, the ‘Ascent’ programme is targeted at companies who find themselves at a crossroads and recognise the need for intervention if they are to achieve their full market potential.

“Ascent is a new, bespoke service designed to provide targeted, personalized support to a small number of Irish food and drink companies looking to identify and overcome obstacles to growth,” comments Olivia Slevin, Manager, Bord Bia. “From our experience, companies often have the capacity and drive to scale up however they may be faced with a challenge such as production, export market analysis, team structures, brand positioning, financial planning or category management. We believe external support and advice will help address and overcome these stumbling blocks and as result companies will be better positioned to expand into sustainable and profitable growth.”

Bord Bia has partnered with PWC who will assist in terms of the initial diagnostic, problem solving sessions and the mentoring where appropriate.

PWC Director Colm O’Callaghan stresses the importance of continuous support for companies.“Many companies plateau after the first growth phase and can find it difficult to break out of that position for a considerable period. For companies with an ambition to succeed in the second phase of growth, a specific set of resources is required to support their development,” he says. “That’s why PWC is delighted to partner an initiative such as Ascent which will help deliver a comprehensive suite of services across a combination of key areas including strategic review, consumer orientation, branding, product quality and peer and expert advice to companies with the potential to significantly grow their business.”

Applications are now open for companies interested in being a part of the inaugural Ascent programme. Applicants should have an annual turnover over €1 million and less than €10 million. There is a €500 participation fee for companies who wish to avail of this service, however the mentoring and diagnostic supports will be valued at a minimum of €10,000. Deadline for applications is Friday August 21st 2015.

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Nestlé Expands Apprenticeship Programme

Nestlé has launched ‘Project Opportunity’ in the US, a career acceleration programme to help people of all ages gain work experience and strengthen their skills in food and beverage manufacturing.

By 2017, the company has pledged to hire 1,000 paid interns and trainees and significantly expand the number of apprenticeship positions it offers across its US operations.

Nestlé will also expand its US Readiness for Work programme designed to facilitate the transition between school and employment to reach more than 300,000 people per year – by participating in job fairs and organising information sessions and workshops.

Project Opportunity is part of the broader Nestlé Global Youth Initiative to help young people develop skills and become more employable. Nestlé launched this initiative to extend its Creating Shared Value commitment to offer 20,000 job opportunities to people under 30 in Europe by 2016.

To ensure it fulfils this commitment and goes further, Nestlé has also launched the Alliance for YOUth, a movement that now counts over 200 European companies as signatories, to tackle the continent’s youth unemployment crisis and create more than 100,000 job opportunities by 2017.

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Grimsby Institute Strengthens Services to Europe’s Foodtown

Grimsby Institute has further strengthened its commitment to the local food industry with the appointment of Mat Thompson (pictured right) as Senior Trainer Consultant (Food). A food industry specialist who has worked locally, nationally and internationally, Mat has joined the Grimsby Institute’s business training services division to bring a fresh dimension to the training and development offer for food businesses.

Mat is known to many in the region and has spent his entire career so far as a food industry professional. He spent five years working on projects with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) experts to support the development of policy, food quality and food safety in Pakistan, India and across Africa. His role was to advise stakeholders looking to export on how they could meet standards for supply and preparing documents for Good Manufacturing Practice.

Mat was also involved with a two-year project with the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) Athens, ahead of the Olympics there in 2004, to support local food manufacturers and producers with food safety skills and standards. He has also delivered a number of European-funded projects surrounding processes and supply chains.

Now Mat will use his industry expertise to benefit businesses in the sector by ensuring training and development offered by the Institute continues to meet the evolving needs of employers.

Lesley Charlesworth-Browne (pictured left), Director of Business and Professional Development at Grimsby Institute Group, says: “We’re thrilled that Mat has joined the business training services division. He’s worked all over the world as a food industry professional and now he’s turned his attention to helping to train and educate others working in the sector to support Grimsby’s position as Europe’s Foodtown. Mat’s appointment sends out a strong message about our commitment to providing industry-leading training that is relevant, up to date and of the highest quality.”

Mat says: “I’m looking forward to working closely with the region’s food manufacturers to help them develop their businesses and maintain a competitive edge with unrivalled training for their employees.”

One of the Grimsby Institute’s priorities is to support local employers by ensuring they, their staff, and their prospective local employees have access to relevant training, qualifications and skills.

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Arla Foods UK and Dairy Pro Announce Training Collaboration

Professional development register Dairy Pro has reached a ground-breaking agreement with the UK’s largest dairy company, farmer-owned co-operative, Arla, for its UK farmer members engaged in its Sustainable Dairy Farming Growing Together programme, to register with Dairy Pro.

Arla’s sustainable dairy farming programme involves a series of on-farm practical workshops which explore key issues affecting dairy farming, including feeding, breeding and managing the future health of the herd. Each workshop is independently assessed and Dairy Pro points will be awarded to farmers attending the workshops, providing them with the opportunity to build an official training record.

Vicky Porteus, Arla’s senior manager for quality assurance and sustainability, says: “Partnering with Dairy Pro is a logical progression to give formal recognition to the training and development delivered, and convey the professional standards of our members to customers and consumers. In the past Arla farmers have been involved in various workshops and events. Making this part of a formal strategy means farmers gain the recognition they deserve for participating in the programme.”

Helen Brookes from Dairy Pro says: “We are very pleased to have Arla farmers as our first corporate members, as it shows recognition for the advantages of the scheme, adds critical mass that will benefit all members, and gives a clear signal to our training partners and the industry alike. It also shows that the dairy industry is catching up fast with other sectors. There has always been great expertise within the dairy sector, but Dairy Pro is now plugging skills gaps and showing the outside world just how serious we are about doing an excellent job for our consumers and wider society.”

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Irish Food Industry to Benefit From ”Game-changing” Scholarship Programme

Bord Bia has said that the inaugural Origin Green Ambassador programme is “game-changing” in terms of its potential to encourage collaborative learning and information sharing between the Irish food industry and leading global food and drink companies. Ten ambitious professionals were appointed as Origin Green Ambassadors in 2013 and have since completed placements with more than 20 global industry leaders.  As a result of its success, Bord Bia is now seeking expressions of interest from potential candidates to begin another 2 year programme in August.

Origin Green is the sustainability programme developed by Bord Bia to demonstrate the commitment by Irish food and drink producers to operate sustainably in terms of emissions, energy conservation, water management, biodiversity, community initiatives and health and nutrition.

Michael Murphy, Director of Markets, Bord Bia, said “This scholarship programme is truly game-changing as it gives us a platform to promote Origin Green and the sustainability credentials of the Irish food industry among leading global players, while gaining invaluable insights into how these companies are managing their sustainability agenda on a global scale. We are looking for high potential, ambitious, motivated professionals who have aspirations to become future leaders in a sustainable Irish food industry to apply for this opportunity.”

International Industry Placements
Over the past 18 months, the 10 Origin Green Ambassadors have developed an expertise in food sustainability through industry placements in international companies such as Coca-Cola, Abbott, the World Bank, Walmart, Bunge, Starbucks and the World Wildlife Fund in the US; McDonalds, Tesco, Subway, Unilever and Marks & Spencer in the UK; Nestle in Switzerland; Metro Group in Germany; and Ahold in Denmark.

Shane Hamill from Malahide in Dublin is currently on placement at the World Bank. He said,  “The World Bank believes that improving agricultural performance is an indispensable tool for ending global poverty and hunger as well as boosting shared prosperity. I believe that Ireland can support this goal by sharing its unique model of a sustainable food production system. In  his blog, Juergen Voegele, senior director of the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice spoke about the challenge of feeding up to 9 billion people by 2050, noting that “Ireland has shown us one way it can be done.”


How to Apply

Applications can be made by visiting www.smurfitschool.ie/bordbia. The closing date for applications is 30th April 2015.

Applications are welcome from individuals with five years commercial experience in the food and drink or marketing sectors who already hold a primary degree in business, science or languages.  All applicants will undergo a rigorous selection process and candidates demonstrating the most potential to add value to the Irish Food and Drink industry will be selected.The programme is fully funded with participants receiving a bursary in addition to having their tuition fees paid.

The MSc in Business Sustainability is an internationally recognised master’s degree, designed blending action learning with a ‘block-release’ academic business education and training. Applicants must have a keen interest in sustainability and business and some placements will require fluency in a second language.

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Produce World Investing in the Fresh Produce Stars of the Future

Produce World Group, the UK’s largest grower and supplier of fresh vegetables, is teaming up with the University of Lincoln to launch an Agri-Food Trainee scheme to find the future stars of the fresh produce industry by offering paid-for work experience and a university degree. The scheme is offering students the opportunity to gain a foot-hold in the sector by working for Produce World across all aspects of the business, while studying for an industry-leading qualification in Food Manufacture (BSc Hons Degree). There is an additional benefit that they will have no student debt at the end of the course.

To take part in the scheme, student candidates will need to have achieved 3 A-Levels (BTEC equivalent) at grade C or above, and be able to invest three to four and half years in completing the degree university course alongside working at Produce World.

In order to complete the course at the University of Lincoln’s Holbeach site and work for Produce World across its sites in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, candidates will be required to live locally and have access to a car.

ProduceWorldPotatoesIn addition to the Agri-Food Trainee scheme, Produce World Group aims to get more people working and into the fresh produce industry through the “Tasty Jobs” scheme, an innovative welfare-to-work scheme designed to attract young job hunters into food manufacturing. The group has “Tasty Jobs” representatives across all its sites, with the “Tasty Jobs” team at Produce World Yaxley helping seven people get back into work, one of whom joined Produce World on a permanent basis at its Yaxley site.

The winning candidate will be working on a salary of £14,000 per annum and will gain their degree at The National Centre for Food Manufacturing on the University of Lincoln’s Holbeach campus in South Lincolnshire. The course will follow the format of distance learning with attended study blocks, with the trainee starting in September 2015.

Interested candidates can apply to be on the Agri-Food Trainee scheme by downloading an application form at http://ncfmholbeach.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2015/02/11/a-world-of-opportunity-for-the-budding-stars-of-the-future/. Applications must be submitted to shagreen@lincoln.ac.uk by the 31stMarch 2015, with interviews being held during April 2015.

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New Nutrition & Food Science Degree on the Menu at QMU

Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, has launched a new degree in nutrition and food science, as part of the institution’s Food & Drink Strategy.

QMU’s Food & Drink Strategy has been developed through extensive consultation with the food and drink sector to support the commercial application of nutritional science.

The BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Food Science is the latest boost to QMU’s ongoing commitment to enhancing Scotland’s position as a leader in food and drink innovation in Europe and supporting access to the global market for healthy and functional food.

The new degree focuses on human nutrition and food science with an emphasis on health and the prevention of dietary related disease.  Nutrition is becoming more important to the food industry, with consumers demanding more information about the content of the products they choose to eat.  QMU’s food scientists are involved in the development of new food products and food production processes, as well as microbiological and chemical testing.

The aim of the new programme is to produce graduates who have the transferable knowledge, skills and attributes to add value to the UK and global food industry. The food industry is the single largest manufacturing industry in the UK, employing around 500,000 people. Scotland has 12,000 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food and drink sector which are seeking to exploit the growing market for healthy food and drink products, estimated to be worth £20bn in the UK and more than £300bn globally.

Michael Clapham, Senior Lecturer Public Health Nutrition at QMU, says: “The new nutrition and food science degree has been designed to put health and the prevention of dietary related disease at the heart of our students’ learning experience.  The programme also supports the skills investment plan for the food and drink sector, whilst up-skilling and promoting the enhanced employability of our graduates.

“The degree is also helping to reinforce QMU’s reputation as Scotland’s leading academic centre for food development and innovation.  In order to meet the future demands of the food and drink industry, QMU is continuing to develop a competitive and sustainable infrastructure, which underpins knowledge exchange in nutritional science.”

The BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Food Science provides additional depth and a specific industry focus to the existing portfolio of programmes currently taught by QMU’s specialists in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences.  The dynamic and research-active team offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the fields of diet, human biology and health.  The University’s team has particular expertise in public health, knowledge exchange and clinical nutrition and metabolism.

Dr Fiona Coutts, Dean of Health Sciences at Queen Margaret University, said: “The development of this course comes at a time when QMU is further strengthening its specialism in food and drink. In December 2014, we launched the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation, which is supporting Scottish food and drink businesses to innovate, develop new healthy products and processes, and grow their businesses.

“The creation of this new course also pays tribute to QMU’s history in food and nutrition. In 1875, the institution was established to help address the dietary issues of the urban poor, confirming our commitment to improving quality of life.”

For more information visit: www.qmu.ac.uk or email Admissions at Queen Margaret University E: admissions@qmu.ac.uk.

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“Probably” The Best Maintenance Planner Development Workshop

The Maintenance Planner role is one of those functions which nobody notices if it works well but if it does n’t everyone feels the pain. So how do you develop the capability to bring together relevant information, prioritise workloads and create a realistic and achievable maintenance plan. Realistic in terms of keeping the customer satisfied and achievable in terms of the resources and time available. How can you get reliable feedback from busy maintenance and production personnel to learn from experience to improve the planning process and eliminate the maintenance backlog?

DAKACADEMYAugust2014An experience maintenance manager who attended the last DAK academy Maintenance Planning course commented that it was the best training course he had ever attended. In addition to the above, he learned How to minimise the time it takes to develop and update plans, How to understand what is needed to prevent failure and how to get “buy in” to adopt practices that prevent failure. He learned how to use the functions that constitute a CMMS to select the best approach to developing practical schedules and practicable planned maintenance routines. He learned how to develop plans that reduce maintenance costs and demonstrate the value of planned maintenance. In short how to bring together all the elements needed for planning so that it “does what it says on the tin”. Planned preventative maintenance.

DAK’s next Maintenance Planning, Scheduling & Work Control 3 day workshop is being held 17th–19th March, 2015 in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Please contact Sue Catt on +44 1491 845504 or sue.catt@dakconsulting.co.uk for further details. Please quote FDMP for booking offer.

To use another advertisement strap line – just do it.

DAK Academy – Developing Improvement Leaders – www.dakacademy.com.

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Leading Lean Improvement Teams

Just as the performance of sports teams owes much to the competence of the team coach, experience shows that delivering gains from Lean Manufacturing also a depends on the skills of the Lean coach.

Traditional lean training skips over the essential lean team leadership principles, techniques and underpinning processes to deliver lasting gains and outstanding performance. That can mean that despite having a good understanding of Lean techniques such as Visual Management, 5S or Value Stream Mapping, these powerful levers for improvement have a limited impact on bottom line results. They survive only through regular re launching of lean initiatives. The evidence of this are lean programmes that create pockets of improvement, visual management window dressing or 5S audits that fail to deliver a better way of working.

Two new training workshops for 2015 fill this gap to harness the potential of lean teams as a vehicle to deliver year on year improvement.

Lean Facilitator covers how to develop teams who need to transform the shop floor reality through front line teams. Over 3 days participants learn how to help teams to understand how to break out of the current state and engage in delivery of a proactive improvement culture.

Manufacturing Project Management covers the engagement of cross functional teams with sharing knowledge, engaging those impacted by the project to deliver lasting gains from projects such as new assets, IT systems or products and services.

As with all DAK courses this includes development of a practical 100 day plan to support the transfer of lessons learned to the workplace.

For further details, contact sue.catt@dakconsulting.co.uk or call +44 1491 845504. Visit www.dakacademy.com to view all DAK courses and download course brochures.

 

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Sustainable, Results Driven Training

CQM Training & Consultancy Ltd have been established for over 20 years and have earned a reputation for delivering enhanced performance from their Lean Continuous Improvement process and Management Development programmes – CQM Training & Consultancy absolutely guarantee it!

Thorntons recently partly attributed their impressive 60% increase in profits to CQM T&C’s development of their operations teams – just one of many success stories in food manufacturing.

Offering innovative bespoke training and development, CQM T&C’s tailored programmes respond directly to the needs of your workforce and business. CQM T&C take time to understand and analyse your current KPIs to ensure they accurately measure and achieve the improvements you are looking for. Everyone involved in the training will produce and implement improvement projects within the workplace linking directly back to EBITDA, hence CQM T&C’s guarantee.

CQM T&C’s sustainable approaches to training and consultancy will be embedded across your workforce bringing real behavioural changes that are locked in long-term, not simply ill conceived interim measures that have no lasting benefit.

Speak to CQM T&C today and discover how they can improve your business performance. Email CQM T&C’s MD if you want to know more Peter.booth@cqmltd.co.uk.

Visit www.cqmltd.co.uk to read more impressive client case studies and CQM T&C’s current news stories.

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UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science: Irish agri-food sector 5th in EU in terms of innovation

 

Ireland has the 5th most innovative agri-food sector in the European Union behind Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands, according to a new report published by University College Dublin and sponsored by Bank of Ireland today (11 June 2014).

It also shows that the sector is strong in terms of research capacity, overall education levels, and favourable tax regimes to encourage business innovation.

The report entitled “Innovation in the Irish Agrifood Sector” was compiled by researchers from University College Dublin following interviews with stakeholders from across the sector, and an analysis of data from Eurostat, the OECD, and the Teagasc National Farm Survey.

 

Pictured at the launch of the Innovation in the Irish Agrifood Sector report were Prof. Alex Evans, Dean UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, Mr. Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Sean Farrell, ASA President and Alan Renwick, professor of agricultural and food economics, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science

 

“It is very encouraging to see that Ireland ranks fifth in terms of innovation in the agrifood sector in the EU, according to this comprehensive report compiled by University College Dublin” said the Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food, Simon Coveney TD at the launch of the report findings at a conference in University College Dublin.

“But the real value of this report is that it has identified several key areas where barriers to innovation in the sector exist. Barriers we can work to target and gradually lift in order to further support the sector towards becoming more innovative,” he said.

“Our universities, third-level institutes and the agri-food sector must work more closely together to build more applicable knowledge that can help further develop and grow the sector and, in turn, our economy,” added the Minister.

“Ireland has a number of truly world class innovative companies, but at present there are too few newly emerging companies that will develop into world leading companies,” said Professor Alan Renwick, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, the lead author of the report.

“There is a high level of government support for the agrifood sector and for science and technology within agriculture and food sectors in particular, but much of the science and the efforts at encouraging innovation are supply pushed rather than demand pulled,” he said.

“Even when companies are looking to engage with universities, and despite the considerable activity that is going on at high level within the University sector, they are finding it difficult to access the knowledge they require.”

“We need to refocus our efforts towards lifting the barriers identified in this report,” he concluded.

Seán Farrell, Head of Agriculture, Bank of Ireland Business Banking said, “We are proud of our position as the leading bank to the agri-sector, which straddles the entire value chain from farmer to processer including Ireland’s largest agri-food corporate companies. We see exciting investment opportunities for this sector and have the capital, capability and commitment to support this important sector.

“Innovation is at the core of successful industry, none more so than in the agri-food sector. Given Bank of Ireland’s very significant and market leading position within the agriculture industry in Ireland and our appetite to support such innovation, we were delighted to have the opportunity to partner with UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science in this study and the production of this insightful report on the Innovation system in Irish Agriculture” he added.

The conference at University College Dublin was sponsored by the Irish Farmers Journal, Grant Thornton, Enterprise Ireland and Bank of Ireland. 

 

Key recommendations from the report:

 

  1. Whilst recognizing that tax incentives already exist for all businesses, there is a need to consider greater incentives for (medium to large-sized) agrifood companies to engage more with R&D activity and in particular activities with a longer term horizon.  This can be justified on the basis that agrifood businesses have been shown to contribute more to net export earnings than many other types of businesses. Continue Reading

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Partner Logistics Wisbech Invests in Work-based Training

Partner Logistics is assisting staff to reach their full potential by offering National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) to help consolidate and develop existing skills into formal credentials.

Thirty four out of the forty members of staff at the Wisbech site are in the process of completing NVQs thanks to Partner Logistics’ investment in continuing professional development programmes.

Having a highly skilled, knowledgeable and loyal workforce ensures Partner Logistics is able to consistently deliver services to the highest possible standard for the benefit of customers, maintaining excellent service and reliability.

Mark Mattless, a planner at Partner Logistics, who is in the process of completing his NVQ in Business Information Technology, comments: “Having the opportunity to progress in the trade and get recognised qualifications has boosted my confidence and made me more determined to succeed. The support Partner Logistics is giving me to develop to my full potential has been great in building my knowledge and skills in the industry.”

Jon Miles, Head of UK operations at Partner Logistics, says: “As a market leader, we are always looking to continuously progress and improve. Through nurturing our staff and helping them gain professional qualifications, we are actively encouraging personal growth both within the business and as individuals within a team.”

Employees who are currently taking their NVQs at Partner Logistics include Multi-skilled staff who are completing NVQ2s in Warehouse Operations; Planners, Engineers and Administrative staff who are completing NVQ2s in Business Information Technology and Shift leaders who are undertaking NVQ2s in Shift Management. The staff are all looking to complete their qualifications by March 2014.

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Six of the 34 staff at Partner Logistics Wisbech who are currently studying for their NVQs.

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New Meyn Demo and training centre now open

On October 2nd 2013 Meyn officially opened its expanded Demo and training centre, when Scott Russell (Global Sales Director of Meyn) and Willem Wals (owner of Vleeshandel Topkip B.V. and the premises in which the Meyn Demo and training centre is located) unveiled a nameplate.

The new Meyn Demo and training centre gives us the possibility to extend our training portfolio and will allow us to set up demonstrations for our customers with our complete range of state-of-the-art cut up and deboning solutions.
The expanded Meyn Demo and training centre features all solutions with which a huge variety in cut up and deboned end products can be made. The first demonstration sessions are already planned for the week of October 7-11, when Meyn will organise a BoneScan 440 ADX demonstration week which will be attended by customers from different countries.

For further information please contact:
Judith Marques dos Reis-Koops
Manager Communication
+31 20 2045 485
jkoops@meyn.com

About Meyn Food Processing Technology B.V.

Meyn Food Processing Technology B.V. is the reliable and committed partner of renowned poultry processing companies in over 100 countries worldwide. Meyn is widely recognized for its ability to support its customers in their ambition for higher capacity and increased yield and efficiency. Meyn’s solutions have proven to maintain its high-level performance under a wide variety of line speeds and bird sizes, allowing its customers to achieve top level productivity with an absolute minimum of labor.
For more information, please visit www.meyn.com.

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New Irish Food Academy to Educate Small Food Businesses

According to organizers, nearly 350 Irish small food businesses will benefit from Food Academy Start, a newly launched training program aimed at supporting and nurturing start up Irish food businesses. Bord Bia, SuperValu and the County Enterprise Boards have joined forces on this initiative to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge to new and early-stage food business owners. For the first time, food start ups regardless of their location will have access to a standardized program of supports throughout the country. The program, which will be delivered through workshop style training, and supported by SuperValu in the context of retail expertise and providing a route to market, is designed to guide companies from start-up to their first retail listing.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD comments: “Food Academy Start is a unique opportunity for ambitious food entrepreneurs looking to build sustainable businesses. Small food businesses play an important part in Ireland’s agri-food sector by enhancing our reputation for dynamic, sustainable, and quality food, as well as providing employment and revenues of €475 million per annum. The program will support participants from the challenging initial phases through to business development plans to assist with future planning. The combination of expertise from both the commercial and marketing will give invaluable insight for the companies involved and is an important step in the cultivation of small food businesses.”

The Food Academy Start program is primarily targeted at start-up food businesses and current County Enterprise Board clients. It is centered on workshops, designed by Bord Bia and SuperValu, that will roll out from September at intermittent stages of the year. The workshops will be run by 35 County Enterprise Boards, with local Supervalu retailers in each of the regions participating in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch process.

The intensive workshops will provide companies with long-term business supports including consumer insight, technical advice, resource planning, commercial advice and marketing development. The output has a core commercial focus whereby all participants will have the opportunity to pitch their product or idea to their local SuperValu, with a view to securing an initial local listing and the potential to build from there. A suite of follow up supports will be exclusively designed by Bord Bia under the Food Academy banner to ensure the continued development of the companies.

For more information or to register your interest in Food Academy Start, visit www.enterpriseboards.ie  or contact your local County Enterprise Board.

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Food Industry Mechanical Engineering Course – Now Open For Applications!

The industry-backed mechanical engineering degree – MEng Food Engineering, atSheffieldHallamUniversityis now open for applications.

Specially designed to create employment-ready mechanical engineers with the skills most sought after by theUK’s largest manufacturing sector, the degree offers real job prospects to its graduates. Some of the many topUKfood and drink brands supporting the course include the makers of Kit Kat, Lurpak Butter, Walkers Crisps, Just-rol pastry to name just a few.

Amongst several other benefits on offer for studying the MEng Food Engineering degree, every student entering the course in September 2014 will be awarded a Food and Drink Federation (FDF) bursary of £2,500 and guaranteed competitively-paid work placements for all students for each year of the course. In addition, students will be given the opportunity to apply for jobs exclusively on offer to course graduates (subject to final grades, references and employer recruitment processes).

Dr Abhishek Asthana, Senior Lecturer in Engineering and Maths atSheffieldHallamUniversity, comments: “Highly-skilled mechanical engineers with knowledge of the food and drink industry are in huge demand. The MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University has been designed to create engineers that are ready for roles in the industry the moment they graduate, helping the industry to grow and remain world-class. The fantastic brands that are supporting the course show just how committed companies are to supporting the next generation of engineers.”

For further details on the course and other student benefits, visit www.foodengineer.co.uk.

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Record Number of Graduates For Irish Distillers

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, Ireland’s leading spirits and wines company, has recruited the largest number of entrants to the Jameson Graduate Programme since the programme began in 1991. A total of 36 graduates; 34 Marketing and two Production Graduates, will be allocated to various global markets across five continents making it the largest programme on offer to Irish graduates within the Irish spirits sector.

This year’s programme has been expanded to represent the brand across nine new markets; Quebec in Canada, China, Korea, Denmark, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Angola, Thailand and New Zealand in order to reflect the growth of the brand internationally.

The thirty six brand ambassadors were chosen after a rigorous interview process which began by entrants completing a two minute video application about themselves via the programme website. According to Sinead D’Arcy, Graduate Programme Manager, this unique aspect of the application process not only proves that applicants are digitally savvy, but also that they have the personality and confidence needed to represent the brand. “Working as a brand ambassador for Jameson requires motivation, passion and confidence. By requiring the graduates to submit videos as part of the application process, we gain a real insight into their personalities and what motivates them; aspects that are often lost in conventional application processes.”

The programme offers Irish graduates the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the operations of one ofIreland’s largest export groups, with real long-term career opportunities within Irish Distillers and the wider Group Pernod Ricard portfolio.

Anna Malmhake, CEO and Chairman of Irish Distillers, says: “Jameson has seen 24 years of consecutive growth, and last year, reached the 4 million cases milestone as Irish Distillers exported Jameson all over the world. Each second, 30 glasses of Jameson are enjoyed somewhere in the world. The Jameson Graduate Programme offers Irish graduates the opportunity to be a part of our international success story, working alongside our colleagues in diverse markets across the globe.

“We pride ourselves not just on the experiences our graduates gain during the graduate  programme, but on the long-term job prospects the programme offers as many of our graduates stay on the programme into Years 2 and Year 3. This year, we have 77 graduates working in 42 international markets and are pleased to have awarded 80% of those who have completed their final year, permanent positions within the Pernod Ricard Group. Our goal is to recruit the future leaders of the Pernod Group, and so far, we have been successful in doing so. Over 50% of the Dublin-based commercial team in Irish Distillers launched their careers through the Graduate Programme, and many of our international leaders have come through the programme including Simon Fay, International Brand Development Director, and Ciara Kelly Head of Business Development.”

The Brand Ambassadors will work closely with the local brand and sales team in order to drive marketing activities in the following markets; USA, Canada, South America, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Ireland, France, Greece, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Belgium, Cyprus, Russia, Ukraine, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Australia, India, South Africa, Japan, Vietnam and Kenya.

Those wishing to apply for next year’s programme should visit www.thevitalingredient.ie where applications will be open for submission from 23rd September.

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Pictured at the launch of the 2013/14 Irish Distillers Jameson Graduate Programme are Brand Ambassadors Jamie Thompson (Netherlands), Catriona Murphy (France) and David Lynch (Spain.)

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2 Sisters Food Group Backs New Innovation & Investment For Future of Farming

One of Britain’s biggest food producers has announced its full support of a new graduate scheme which is targeting new talent for the future of British agriculture. 2 Sisters Food Group is supporting the launch of the Government’s Agriculture-Technologies Strategy with its retail partner Sainsbury’s.

This first-of-its-kind agricultural graduate scheme is designed to shape innovation in British farming and engage young people.

A Sainsbury’s graduate is coming to work at 2 Sisters Food Group’s agriculture team later this year, gaining an insight into how the team works with farmers and retailers to deliver the right products for customers. The graduate will focus on some key projects relating to product quality, impacted by the way the chickens are farmed.

Ranjit Singh, chief executive of 2 Sisters Food Group, says: “Like our partner Sainsbury’s, we recognise the importance of attracting young people into our industry – and developing the talent of the future. I’m delighted to support this initiative and back our youngsters to ensure we have a healthy and productive agriculture sector in the future.”

Michelle Waterman, group agriculture director at 2 Sisters Food Group, adds: “We wholeheartedly agree with our retail partners that a big problem is the fact that the farming population is ageing, so it’s important to have young people enter the industry and help to drive innovation and secure the future. With 2 Sisters backing this initiative, it brings benefits for the whole supply chain – from farmers through to our customer – the retailers – and the end consumer.”

The unique scheme is closely aligned with the Government’s Agri-tech strategy by attracting the brightest young talent into the industry and creating the next generation of leaders to ensure British farming can lead on a global scale.

The graduates start in September and will spend six months at 2 Sisters as part of their two-year programme with Sainsbury’s.

“Farming is one of the biggest industries in the UK which is why we think it’s so important to plan for the future now,” points out Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s Brand and co-chair of the Agri-Tech Leadership Group. “This is also a new way of working for industry, as for the first time we will running this scheme in collaboration with our end to end supply chain partners.”

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Nestlé and Sheffield Hallam University Launch ‘Earn While They Learn’ Scheme For School Leavers

A unique scheme that allows school-leavers to ‘earn while they learn’ by placing them in a salaried training role while they study for their degree has been launched by Nestlé, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University.

The Nestlé Academy Fast Start Programme is the first of its kind in the food industry and has already received hundreds of applications for the 12 places on offer.

At the end of the three year programme successful participants will be offered a job within the company. During their training they will gain work experience across a broad range of commercial roles at Nestlé, alongside a BA (Hons) in Professional Business Practice from Sheffield Hallam University.

The commercial trainees will be paid a salary whilst they complete the programme, and their tuition fees will be entirely paid for by Nestlé.

“With declining numbers of 18- 24 year olds, an ageing population and a predicted decline in graduate numbers, we need to make a career in the food industry a career of choice,” says Fiona Kendrick, Chairman and CEO Nestlé UK and Ireland. “We need a commercially driven workforce for the future and are looking for individuals with potential. The Nestlé Academy Fast Start Programme not only allows young people to earn while they learn but also to gain invaluable business skills and experience whilst working towards the academic achievement of a degree. Added to that they are given an opportunity to develop an exciting and rewarding career with Nestlé with opportunities both in the UK and all over the globe.”

During the first two years the commercial trainees will rotate between the Sales, Marketing, Human Resources and Supply Chain functions in real jobs working on real-life projects. In the third year they will specialise into a specific business area, based on Nestlé’s business needs, their preferences and strengths for a particular role. Alongside the commercial experience the commercial trainees will complete 5 blocks of 5-day study release based at Sheffield Hallam University.

Professor Adrian Hopgood, Pro Vice Chancellor of Sheffield Business School at Sheffield Hallam University, comments: “At Sheffield Hallam University we are committed to working closely with industry to produce work-ready graduates, and we offer a range of innovative flexible learning routes so that our students can learn in a way that best suits their needs. This programme is unique in that it recruits participants with school leaver qualifications, rather than at postgraduate level. We believe that the students will benefit hugely from being able to apply the theory they learn at University directly into the workplace to solve real-life business issues.”

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UK Food Manufacturers Treble Apprenticeships in 2012

Food and drink manufacturers have trebled the number of apprenticeships across the industry, beating an original target to double before the end of 2012.

The latest data from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and the sector skills council, Improve, shows that since August 2011 there have been 5,281 apprenticeship starts in food and drink manufacturing businesses across the country. Apprenticeships now make up 1.3% of the overall food and drink manufacturing workforce – up from 0.4% in 2010/11.

The Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Apprenticeship Pledge, launched last year, aims to build a pool of talented apprentices that can be developed and deployed across the sector.

The UK food industry has also introduced its own Graduate Excellence engineering degree course. Half of the work placements required for the forty students have already been pledged for the course, which launches in 2014 at Sheffield Hallam University. So far, 23 placements and other offers of support have been pledged by: apetito, Arla Foods, Burton’s Biscuit Company, Cargill, Dalehead Foods, General Mills, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Premier Foods, United Biscuits, Warburtons and the William Jackson Food Group.

Graduate Excellence will be the UK’s first dedicated food and drink engineering degree. It is currently being developed by FDF in partnership with the National Skills Academy (NSA) for food and drink and Sheffield Hallam University where the programme will be based. The degree course will begin in September 2014.

Both the Apprenticeship Pledge and Graduate Excellence aim to build the skills the UK’s food and drink manufacturing sector needs for the future, enabling it to meet its ambition to grow 20% by 2020.

The Food and Drink Federation’s President Jim Moseley, says: “Our Apprenticeship Pledge and Graduate Excellence programme are both key to attracting the talented individuals that we need for the future, enabling us to achieve our joint vision with government to grow our sector 20% by 2020. Having so many great companies on-board, offering quality apprenticeships and work placements as part of the degree, is a sign of our industry’s commitment to support the next generation of skilled food and drink employees and to achieving our vision.”

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Tesco Launches Scholarships For Dairy Farmers of the Future

UK retailer Tesco will target the dairy farmers of the future as part of a new scholarship programme open to members of its pioneering Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group. The scholarship programme will see TSDG farmers or their family members being offered the chance to study elements of dairy farming such as animal welfare, animal fertility and sustainability.

After carrying out their studies, beneficiaries of the programme will aim to promote new innovations and ideas throughout the TSDG. The TSDG was set up in 2007 to help support struggling dairy farmers and has grown to include over 700 farmers across the UK.

Dame Lucy Neville Rolfe, Executive Director of Corporate and Legal Affairs at Tesco comments: “Through the TSDG we’ve been able to support hundreds of dairy farmers across the UK in what have been some uncertain times for the industry as a whole, so we’re delighted to be able to offer the chance of a TSDG scholarship programme to our members. As an international retailer, we know from experience how useful it can be to find ways of exchanging good practice around the world.”

Beneficiaries of the programme will also be given the opportunity to visit the Tesco Dairy Centre of Excellence at Liverpool University to discuss their plans and obtain advice and support from members of the dedicated team.

Andy Bloor, Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group Chairman says: “I’m really pleased that after developing a ‘next generation’ group within the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group, TSDG farmers and the farmers of the future will be given the opportunity to take part in this new scholarship programme. Tesco has shown a real commitment to the TSDG, so being able to share new ideas and innovations will ensure the group continues to be a leader in its field.”

Tesco formed the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG) in 2007 after years of dairy farmers operating in an extremely difficult market with farms going out of business. Today, the TSDG has over 700 farmers who exclusively supply Tesco with all its own brand fresh milk. Tesco meets delegates every three months to discuss projects, pricing arrangements and to generally better understand the supply chain.

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CCE and ECO Plastics Launch New Education Centre

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has underlined its continued commitment to youth development with the opening of a brand new Education Centre at Continuum Recycling, the joint venture with ECO Plastics which created the world’s largest plastics bottle reprocessing facility located in Hemswell, Lincolnshire. The new centre is the fifth of its kind in Great Britain, with similar facilities at other CCE sites including Sidcup, Wakefield, Edmonton and East Kilbride in Scotland.

As part of CCE’s national education programme, the latest investment will support the company’s drive to introduce young people to the world of business, enterprise and engineering. The new centre aims to host over 200 visits per year, reaching over 4,000 students from local secondary schools, colleges and universities.

Visitors to the Education Centre receive subject related insight into the recycling production process alongside a guided tour of the factory floor. Each centre is run by a General Teaching Council (GTC) registered teacher, employed full-time by CCE, and supports learning on a variety of subjects, including Business Studies, Science, ICT, Engineering, Design & Technology.

Students from the CordeauxSchoolin Louth were the first to attend the new centre and experience its benefits first hand, taking part in an interactive classroom session and factory tour.

Simon Baldry, managing director of Coca-Cola Enterprises, comments: “We are committed to playing a positive role in the communities in which we operate, and one of the best ways to achieve this is by opening up our sites to support the work of educators. Our Education Centres offer students valuable insight into the world of business, allowing them to make connections between what they learn in the classroom and real-life modern manufacturing practices. Modules taught at Continuum Recycling, as at all of our education centres, link directly to the national curriculum. We look forward to welcoming secondary and further education students to this state-of-the-art facility to experience the site and learn more about the recycling production process.”

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New Career Kick-start Fund For Female Staff

New government funding toward training designed to improve the career prospects of women employees is now available to food and drink manufacturing firms across the UK. The funds, initially secured by food and drink skills council Improve, are being used by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink to make career development training available to over 300 women nationwide.

The Academy is making grants of up to £800 per female trainee available to food and drink companies to cover the cost of tuition. Firms are not required to make a cash investment but simply an in-kind contribution amounting to paid time away from work of an equivalent amount while the employee is training.

“Women make up a much smaller proportion of the overall workforce in food and drink manufacturing compared to other industries and that is particularly true at senior level, says Justine Fosh, Executive Director of the Academy. “More and more opportunities are opening up for women at all levels and with the right training they can not only help push their company forward but accelerate their own career to a new level.”

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UK Food and Drink Industry Pledges to Help Tackle National Engineering Shortage

A new food engineering degree will play its part in tackling the severe shortage of UK engineering graduates according to food and drink industry bosses and the sector skills council.

The pledge follows a Royal Academy of Engineering survey showing that there are too few STEM graduates to meet engineering need across all industries between 2012-2020 and that 100,000 new engineering graduates are needed to stop the UK slipping down international league tables.

The graduate scarcity is causing a hike in starting salaries for engineers while those for other disciplines are falling. Many firms are being forced to look overseas for suitably qualified recruits.

The food and drink industry has been planning the launch of the new engineering degree for about two years and its introduction is timely as all manufacturing sectors compete for highly talented individuals. The new degree will give the industry a strong position in being able to draw from graduates specifically trained in its workings.

“The shortage of engineers has caused intense competition between industries and is 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,” says Justine Fosh, executive director of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink.

“That is why, together with the Food and Drink Federation and major industry players, we have successfully persuaded Government to share the cost with industry, through co-investment from the UKCES Employer Investment Fund, of launching a new degree course dedicated to food engineering at Sheffield Hallam University from 2014.” 

To find out more about how your business can get involved in supporting the new Food Engineering degree, contact Catherine Wright at The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink – c.wright@foodanddrink.nsacedmy.co.uk , call 0845 644 0558 or visit the Academy website at www.foodanddrink.nsacademy.co.uk.

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Two New Professors For Leatherhead Food Research

Leatherhead Food Research’s Paul Berryman and Tony Hines MBE have been appointed as Visiting Professors at the University of Reading. The title, which is only awarded for distinction or status in a professional field relating to academia, comes as the University sought to recognise their contributions in establishing the Food Advanced Training Partnership (Food ATP).

The Food ATP is a partnership between leading UK institutions in food and agricultural research, with the aim of providing training to food industry professionals.

Both Berryman and Hines have a distinguished background within the food industry with careers spanning more than 25 years.

Chief Executive, Paul Berryman, previously operated as Research Director at Leatherhead improving the scientific research portfolio and implementing a new science strategy. He has also worked in five different scientific and technical consultancies and has gained six degrees, including the prestigious Mastership in Chemical Analysis, awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a PhD in Science Strategy.

Head of Food Security, Tony Hines (pictured), has delivered training courses and provided consultancy services on Crisis Management, Product Recall, Consumer Complaints and Media Management, for over 20 years. He has also worked closely with the Food Standards Agency and serves as a Trustee of the UK Anaphylaxis Campaign. His MBE is for services to the community, which involved working with the Emergency Services.

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UK Food Industry to Provide First Food Engineering Degree

Sheffield Hallam University has been named as the successful university to partner the UK food and drink industry in the development of the country’s first dedicated food and drink engineering degree. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink made the announcement after a rigorous selection process to run the unique course which is being developed in response to the need for world-class engineers for the industry.

The food and drink industry needs to recruit 137,000 new employees between 2007-2017 and has been working with employers to identify the skills gaps that they are experiencing amongst potential recruits. Many companies have highlighted a need for highly qualified engineers with a knowledge and understanding of the specialist requirements of food and drink manufacturing. The lack of a specialist course in the UK has led the industry to work towards developing its own and it hopes that Sheffield Hallam will be able to accept the first students in September 2014.

FDF director of human resources, Angela Coleshill says: “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 of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, comments: “This is an important milestone in redressing gaps in provision for our industry. The role of the National Skills Academy is to work with food businesses to drive up the relevance, quality and accessibility of training and with greater levels of automation in the industry we need higher levels of skills. This activity demonstrates the importance of the industry coming together to support new developments to ensure that they are appropriate to industry needs and sustainable for the future. Sheffield Hallam demonstrated both the skills but also the willingness to listen to industry and develop a new partnership for the future.”

The development of the degree course is being supported through funding from UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills) through the Employer Investment Fund.

Over the coming months, FDF and the National Skills Academywill be working with the university on the development of the course and the food industry has already committed to enhancing the course with work placements for successful students.

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Accident Prevention in the Food and Drink Industry

More than 5,000 injuries within the UK food and drink manufacturing sector are reported to the Health and Safety Executive each year, representing about a quarter of all the reported injuries in manufacturing. Manual handling and slips and trips are the most common causes of these injuries.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is a safety charity that has been at the heart of accident prevention in the UK and around the world for more than 90 years.

Tom Mullarkey MBE, chief executive of RoSPA.

“Accidents cause loss and suffering to the victims and their loved ones, employers and UK society as a whole,” points out Tom Mullarkey MBE, chief executive of RoSPA. “For this reason, our mission is to save lives and reduce injuries and we do this by promoting safety and the prevention of accidents at work, at leisure, on the road, in the home and through safety education.”

Many of the services offered by RoSPA’s workplace safety department are relevant to firms in the food and drink industry, regardless of whether they are manufacturers, distributors or retailers.

For example, RoSPA’s manual handling training courses, including its new BTEC Manual Handling Trainers (Level 3) course, and risk assessment services have been developed to address one of the major causes of injury in the food and drink sector. Also of particular interest on the training and consultancy front is RoSPA’s forklift truck training and consultancy services on issues such as on-site workplace transport and noise.

Additionally, RoSPA offers a full suite of services to help firms manage occupational road risk, including management solutions like policy reviews, as well as risk assessment and driver training.

RoSPA also offers a wide range of general health and safety training courses that are ideal for occupational safety professionals looking to improve their qualifications or any member of the workforce seeking to increase their knowledge and skills.

Tailored Services

“We pride ourselves on being able to respond to the specific needs of our clients and, as such, we can tailor our services to the requirements of any organisation, regardless of their size. In the food and drink sector, our work brings us into contact with multinationals right the way down to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” explains Tom Mullarkey.

“When working with SMEs, it’s crucial to remember that they are not just smaller versions of large companies: they face distinct challenges when it comes to health and safety. As well as time constraints, tight budgets mean difficult decisions often have to be taken about how to invest appropriately in health and safety, and the recession has only served to increase these pressures. SMEs, for example, may find it difficult to access specialist help on health and safety, including training.”

He elaborates: “We also know that SMEs tend to have higher accident rates and the effects of injuries and ill health on the business can be particularly acute. Accidents can interrupt business continuity, for example, where the prolonged absence of a key member of staff results in significant lost time. Accidents can affect future orders, limit output and damage workforce morale.”

However, the financial cost of complying with health and safety regulations is different in small and large firms. One report has found that, on a per employee basis, SMEs may be spending nearly six times more than larger firms on risk assessment.

“Efforts to raise health and safety standards in smaller businesses, therefore, should be built around the specific challenges they face and should not be overly burdensome in terms of time or financial costs,” he adds.

Health & Safety Achievements 

Another area of RoSPA’s work concerns the recognition of health and safety achievements. Each year, the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards – the largest and longest running awards programme of its type in the UK – provide recognition to firms that are committed to continuous improvement on accident and ill health prevention. More than 80 food and drink manufacturing firms were successful in the RoSPA Awards 2012.

Sector award winners included Premier Foods of St Albans, which won the Food and Drink Manufacturing sector, and Chivas Brothers – Pernod Ricard of Paisley, winner of the International Dilmun Environmental Award (sponsored by GPIC).

Organic yoghurt maker Yeo Valleyprovides a further illustration of RoSPA’s activity within the food and drink industry. In just seven years, Yeo Valley moved from Level 3 to Level 5 (Diamond – the highest level) in RoSPA’s flagship Quality Safety Audit scheme, which provides an in-depth analysis of the specific factors at the heart of an organisation’s safety performance.

“Working with RoSPA enables firms to gain access to our unrivalled suite of services across all areas of safety, enabling them to not only meet their legal and moral responsibilities when it comes to safety and health, but also to enjoy the very real business benefits of effectively managing this area of work,” Tom Mullarkey comments.

He concludes: “For many SMEs, for example, the structure and formality of a risk assessment provides the only process and quality system they have, which they need to differentiate themselves from the ‘cowboys’. For larger companies, particularly in times of slow growth, effective health and safety management results in cultural cohesion, strong leadership and reduced costs from, for example, fewer vehicle fleet collisions or fewer employee absences through ill health.”

For further information visit www.rospa.com.

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