Engineering, that's how!
Are you interested in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM)? Then getting a career in engineering in food and drink sector could be for you!
Why? Food and drink is the UK's largest manufacturing sector that currently has thousands of job openings at all levels, and our sector is in need to find young talented engineers of the future. This basically means that the career opportunities are vast.
So if you're considering studying engineering at Uni but not quite sure where to start, then take a closer look at these courses that have real career opportunities; the Batchelor's in Food Engineering (BEng) (more information here: http://bit.ly/BEngfoodengineering ) and the Master's in Food Engineering (MEng) (more information here: http://bit.ly/foodengineering ) at Sheffield Hallam University. Both courses are supported by over 40 of the UK's biggest food and drink companies.
As well as gaining first-hand experience from a course tailored by those within the industry, by enrolling on the course you'll be guaranteed work placements UK-wide at supporting companies, as well as be eligible for a £2,500 bursary towards your studies.
If you have any questions; simply get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
'Taste Success – A Future in Food' is the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) industry-led Award winning campaign to attract new talent to UK food and drink manufacturing. Visiting Birmingham’s Big Bang Fair 16th-19th March for the fifth year in a row, some of the industry’s biggest names will be showcasing their career opportunities and inviting various apprentices to share their experiences with engineers and scientists of tomorrow.
This year FDF will be joined by Mars UK, PepsiCo UK, McCain Foods, Mondelez International, United Biscuits, Festo, Omron and Siemens. See what some of their fantastic employees have to say about why they love working in the food and drink sector:
Lewis Thorpe is in the fourth year of his Advanced Engineering Maintenance Apprenticeship at Mondelēz International in Sheffield.
“Mondelez International is a huge company – it’s great to be part of such a big network, to have so many people to learn from, to be able to do work on such great brands, and to be involved in helping to create exciting new brands in the future.”
Sam Elliot is in his fourth year as a McCain Engineering Apprentice at the company’s plant in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
“As an engineering apprentice, I help to look after and maintain the machinery in the McCain factory. It’s an exciting environment and every day is different. When I’m on-site I help out on all sorts of tasks like mechanical and electrical maintenance and welding – I’m always doing something new.”
Georgia Mission is a Nutrition Sciences Placement Student at PepsiCo.
“My advice to those considering a career in food and drink would be to take a year in industry. It is a great opportunity to develop your employability, but also to find out what your interests are.”
Ryan Braddon is a Lean Coach in the Supply Chain Leadership Team at Mars.
“During my career I have been able to work with some great people and enjoy some fantastic opportunities. Throughout all of these experiences I have been able to use and rely on the fundamentals that I learnt during my years as an apprentice.”
22-year-old Mansi Verma is an Ingredients Technologist at United Biscuits in High Wycombe.
“The food industry is a great place to make a career. It’s very supportive and friendly. As long as you’re always ready to find out ‘why?’ then there’s a role for you. From all the work experience I’ve done I can definitely say that the food and drink industry has a balanced mix of men and women and jobs are given on what you can do rather than just who you are.”
All of these great companies look forward to meeting you at the Big Bang Fair. Come and visit us on FDF Taste Success Stand number 119 – there are prizes to be won!
For more information about careers in food and drink, visit:
Facebook: Search ‘Taste Success’
Interested in visiting a factory and experiencing the behind-the-scenes world of food and drink?
Taste Success has teamed up with industry charity GroceryAid to bring a fantastic opportunity to those considering an apprenticeship. If you’re interested in earning while learning, this could be the perfect option for you.
Looking for financial support in your Apprenticeship?
You’ve come to the right place.
You may qualify for a free grant of up to £520 per annum from GroceryAid, the national charity for grocery people.
GroceryAid is the charity for those who work or have worked in the grocery industry. The charity has introduced its brand new Apprenticeship Grant to encourage the flow of talent in the industry!
Our aim is to support people through apprenticeships in the grocery industry. The grants can be paid for up to four years, with relevant proof of being signed onto an Apprenticeship Programme in the Grocery trade.
We will prioritise our help to you where:
- Your parent(s) or guardian(s) work or have worked for 5 years or more in the grocery industry
- Your parent(s) or guardian(s) own or owned their own store
- You live with your parent(s) / guardian(s)
- You are earning the average apprentice rate or less
- Your apprenticeship is in the grocery industry
What could your grant cover?
You can use the grant for any costs associated with your Apprenticeship, for example:
GroceryAid Apprenticeship Grant
We can award grants of up to £520 per annum for UK apprentices whose parent/s/guardians are, or have been, working in the grocery industry. The award is subject to eligibility requirements as outlined above.
How much can you apply for?
The most that you can apply for is £520 per year.
What can you use the grant for?
You can use the grant for any reasonable costs connected with your apprenticeship including living expenses, accommodation, travel expenses and books.
Who can apply?
To be eligible to apply you need to be:
Before applying, you should check that you are eligible.
Are grants paid directly to applicants?
Yes, subject to proof that you are on an Apprenticeship Programme.
You can apply for a grant each year of your Apprenticeship, up to a maximum of four years.
Do you need to re-apply each year?
Yes. You will need to show that you are continuing on your Programme, that your performance is satisfactory and that there is no significant change in your financial situation.
Making an application
To apply simply fill in the online application form.
For further guidance on the Apprenticeship Grant contact email@example.com
If you haven’t considered a career in food and drink yet, here are 10 reasons why you should.
It's very easy to take the food and drink we love for granted – every time we visit the supermarket the shelves are full of our favourite products, constantly being replenished as if by magic. But it's not magic that keeps our plates full and taste buds happy, it's people!
Creative, innovative and passionate people just like you make up the wonderful world of food and drink manufacturing, which currently boasts 400,000 employees, but we still need more! Food and drink companies are constantly on the lookout for fresh new talent to keep the supermarket shelves full for generations to come.
If you've recently received your exam results and are still deciding what to do with them, then there's no time to waste! The BEng and MEng Food Engineering courses at Sheffield Hallam University are still accepting applications and are the best step you can take into a career in food and drink.
Still need convincing? Here are 10 reasons why you should consider a career in food and drink, on What Uni.
FDF Taste Success has been on a UK tour recently to come and meet those of you who are interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and tell you why Food Engineering is the profession for you!
Having set up camp at the Big Bang Fair South West at Exeter University and the Big Bang Fair North West in Liverpool, we've showcased the many amazing reasons why food and drink is the best industry you can choose to work in. Why? Well, in addition to being the UK's largest manufacturing sector that currently has thousands of job openings at all levels, food and drink is one of the happiest and tastiest places to be! Just see what people already in it are saying.
If you're convinced and want to go to Uni but not quite sure start, take a closer look at the BEng and MEng Food Engineering degrees (more information here: http://bit.ly/foodengineering ) at Sheffield Hallam University, there is still time to find out more and apply for this September. The courses aresupported by over 40 of the UK's biggest food and drink companies.
As well as gaining first-hand experience from a course tailored by those within the industry, by enrolling on the course you'll be guaranteed 56 weeks' worth of work placements at supporting companies, as well as be eligible for a £2,500 bursary towards your studies.
If you didn't manage to make it to the regional Big Bang Fairs, don't worry! Taste Success will be appearing at Skills London in November. We hope to see you there!
To find out more about careers in food and drink or to be kept up to date with Taste Success events, email firstname.lastname@example.org
As one of the most innovative and inspiring sectors, food and drink wouldn't be what it is without the passionate people contributing to its success. As a sector we need to attract the very best talent, building on our existing pool of specialist employees and meeting the industry's aim to grow our sector's workforce by 20% by 2020.
The MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University is a fantastic way for industry to create a pool of specialist engineers equipped to meet the specific needs of our business. The first entrants onto the course started in September 2014 and students are now on their first work placements in industry.
One of these students is Blyth Mkonya who is on placement at Mondelez International.
Blyth Mkonya has joined Mondelez International's Sheffield factory on a three month industrial placement. During his time he will work across a number of projects including an improvement project on Trebor mints. Through the placement Blyth will build a greater understanding of food manufacturing in a real life factory environment so he is equipped with the necessary skills to overcome the unique design, manufacture and supply challenges of our industry.
There are still places available for this September's intake.
Some fast facts:
[*] Terms and conditions apply
If you’re interested in a career in engineering and love food and drink, we invite you to join us this weekend at Sheffield Hallam University.
As part of our sector's ongoing efforts to promote the delicious career options within food and drink, we will once again be inviting young talent to join us at Sheffield Hallam University's Open Days this weekend, to get a taste of the fantastic opportunities available in the sector with the UK's very first MEng Food Engineering degree.
Food and drink fans are invited to the university's campus on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 June to hear from those within the industry and speak to young engineers who are already making a name for themselves at some of the UK's best known food and drink companies.
Are you a natural problem-solver? A maths and science enthusiast? Someone who loves hands-on experiences? Then be sure to come and visit us and hear all about why a career in food and drink engineering could be the perfect route for you.
Representing the UK's largest manufacturing sector, our engineers will be on hand to share their own experiences and routes into the industry, as well as provide tips and advice to prospective students who are considering a career in engineering. Whether you would like to attend a talk with an industry expert or visit the MEng Food Engineering degree stand on either day, we look forward to meeting new faces who may very well be the engineers of tomorrow in our great industry.
For those interested in attending, please join us at:
Friday 12 June and Saturday 13th June
Venue: Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Howard Street, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK
Location: Eric Mensforth Building room 3121, City Campus
Should you not be able to attend this weekend, the university will be hosting its second lot of open days in the autumn: 4 October, 17 October and 1 November.
Industry engineers welcomed prospective students to the UK's first MEng Food Engineering degree to give them a taste of working in the food and drink sector.
What better way to learn about careers in food and drink than to hear about it straight from people already within the industry?
That's what people with an interest in food engineering were treated to when they visited the London Science Museum for our 'Food Engineers of the Future' event. With an exciting collection of talks from food and drink engineers, a series of engineering challenges that brought out everyone’s competitive streaks, and having the opportunity to speak to graduates who are working in food and drink following their time at university, the day offered a flavour of what to expect from the industry-supported MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University.
Attendees received tips and advice from industry mentors while enlisting their help for a fun set of engineering challenges involving food – if you think you could construct a giant tower out of dry spaghetti and marshmallows, you might also be a future food engineer!
If you like the sound of our 'Food Engineers of the Future' event and the MEng Food Engineering degree, be sure to get involved with our upcoming events. Our next stop will be Sheffield Hallam University's Open Days on 12 and 13 June, where those interested in the course will be able to learn everything they need to know about a career in food and drink while hearing from industry experts. We hope to see you there!
To find out more about the MEng Food Engineering degree and register your interested for Sheffield Hallam's open days and more, contact email@example.com.
Find out more about the MEng Food Engineering course at Sheffield Hallam University
These are just a couple of the fascinating things that schools from across the country learnt when they visited FDF’s Taste Success stand at the Big Bang UK Scientists and Engineers Fair 2015 this year.
Getting a taste of careers in food and drink at the four-day event, visitors were able to see a deliciously giant chocolate egg, test their taste buds by flavouring their own crisps, show off their maths skills and dance with a couple of DJ robots. Have a look at some of the photos from the FDF Taste Success stand on Flickr.
But how do all of these things relate to careers in food and drink?
Well, food engineering is all these things and more! From putting the bubbles in an Aero bar so it melts in your mouth, to figuring out what the right level of fizziness a bottle of Coca-Cola should be, food engineering is all around, and we’re looking for young people to be a part of the delicious journey.
With member companies Coca-Cola Enterprises, Premier Foods, McCain Foods, PepsiCo UK, Mondelez International and Mars UK, visitors to the stand were able to hear all about food engineering and the job options available from apprentices and graduates who are responsible for filling supermarket shelves with your favourite foods on a daily basis.
Like what you hear? Well, there are lots of different routes into food engineering, particularly by enrolling onto the UK’s first industry-supported MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University, or taking up one of the many apprenticeship opportunities available at our companies.
If you didn’t manage to make it to the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, don’t worry! Taste Success will be appearing at regional events, including Big Bang South West in Exeter, Big Bang London and Big Bang North West in Liverpool and later in the year at Skills London. We hope to see you there!
To find out more about careers in food and drink or to be kept up to date with Taste Success events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about the MEng Food Engineering course at Sheffield Hallam University
The UK’s food and drink manufacturing industry is innovative, exciting and offers great long-term career prospects. Food and drink manufacturers will for the fourth year be going to the Big Bang Fair (11-14 March, NEC Birmingham) – the UK’s largest celebration of science and engineering for young people.
This year we are delighted that we will be joined on our Taste Success career stand by FDF members Coca-Cola Enterprises, Mars UK, Mondelēz International, McCain, Premier Foods and PepsiCo UK.
You will be able to take part in a range of fun, educational and hands-on activities to get you thinking about the ways engineering is used to produce our food and drink. Try out:
There will also be the opportunity to speak to apprentices and graduates about their experiences working in food and drink manufacturing. Here’s what some young people within the industry are saying:
Gordon W Gillies, Maintenance Engineer at Coca-Cola Enterprises:
“By completing the modern apprenticeship programme I have not only gained relevant hands on skills to be part of the food and drink industry, I have also secured vocational and academic qualifications whilst learning on the job.”
Louise Eaton is a Product Development Technologist at Premier Foods Worksop R&D centre:
“My job is so diverse - part of my time is spent managing the new product development process, and part being creative with the development of new products. I work cross functionally with different teams including marketing, operations, regulatory and the sensory team, to take products from concept to launch. Seeing products I've helped to develop on supermarket shelves really gives me a sense of achievement.”
Conor McGurk,Process Engineer at Bournville the home of Cadbury:
"I am proud to be an engineer in the food and drink industry because you are able to see the results of your work in shops all over the country (and the world!). So many people can relate to and enjoy the products you work on.”
Campden BRI provides legislative, technical and scientific support and research to the food and drinks industry worldwide. The emerging 'skills shortage' facing the sector was one of the major areas of need identified during Campden BRI's recent major consultation on the needs of industry.
Campden BRI is actively supporting industry to both encourage and attract newly qualified scientists, technologists and managers into the industry by offering undergraduate student placements and PhD studentships, introducing the Ecotrophelia competition to the UK, and supporting activities such as the student LaunchPad and Feeding Britain's Future.
James Huscroft is currently studying for a BSc (Hons) Food Science at the University of Nottingham. For the last 12 months he has been working at Campden BRI as a Process Validation Technician Placement Student. His work experience has covered a variety of areas with one common theme – thermal processing.
James' work varies day-to-day, from working with clients to ensure that their processes meet requirements to developing processes, to monitoring microbiological stability during a product's shelf life. He writes a blog for the Institute of Food Science and Technology and recently presented at the Appetite for Engineering workshop at the University of Nottingham’s Food Science Summer School to encourage GCSE students to pursue a career in Food Engineering.
I’ve always been fascinated with food! As my Dad has worked in the industry for around 30 years, you could say that it runs in the family. Science was my strong point at school and I quickly realised that I wanted to work in the food industry. The Food Science degree at the University of Nottingham was perfect for me. From food chemistry, processing, manufacturing to nutrition and microbiology - the course offered me everything I need to pursue a career in the food industry.
A student at the University of Nottingham told me great things about her placement at Campden BRI so I researched the company and felt that it was a fantastic opportunity to learn from experts.
When I first started at Campden BRI I was extremely nervous, however as soon as I walked through the door I was met with smiles and friendly faces which put me at ease. My manager showed me around the site and introduced me to my team and the rest of the department. Everyone was so welcoming! Having spent a year working with a wide range of people, I can honestly say that it’s a pleasure to work at Campden BRI. The atmosphere is fantastic and everyone is willing to help whenever you need it.
Anyone who has worked at Campden BRI will tell you a typical day is never the same. I could be calibrating equipment, carrying out contract work on-site in Chipping Campden or off-site at factories, analysing data, writing reports, presenting to Member Interest Groups, representing Campden BRI at certain events or answering client enquiries. The variety of work and number of opportunities to learn are what makes Campden BRI such a great place to work.
My placement year has been too good to narrow it down to just one highlight. All the opportunities that I have been given have enabled me to progress, grow and delve deeper into the world of food science.
The greatest challenge I have faced whilst on my placement has been dealing with the pressure associated with process development or validation trials at clients’ factories. This was sometimes very difficult. While I would do my best to go above and beyond to accomplish the deliverables, it was vitally important to keep to the schedule as accurately as possible to minimise the impact on the client’s production.
My greatest achievement was seeing my name published on a Research & Development report for a project on which I had been involved in the practical work, data analysis and report writing. I was also very proud to be elected IFST’s Member of the Month in recognition of the blogs I wrote for the IFST website about my placement year at Campden BRI.
My placement has been filled with many surprises, but the biggest surprise was the level of responsibility that I was given by my manager and my team early on. This has allowed me to grow and experience hands-on learning.
The advice from me couldn’t be simpler: take every opportunity that comes your way. Be keen, eager and always seize opportunities to develop. If you happen to be having a quiet day or week, use that go-getter attitude and ask for work because it will make your placement experience even more rewarding.
Following my placement year at Campden BRI, I will be returning to the University of Nottingham to complete the final year of my BSc (Hons) Food Science degree. Once I have graduated I hope to study for a PhD with my University and then pursue a career in the food industry.
Three careers maps are available for both teachers and companies to use when working with schools.
The maps are based on some of the processes involved in creating three products - chocolate, oatcakes and smoothies, and details the different jobs that go into producing them.
These are just a flavour of some of the many jobs that go into making the food and drink products we all enjoy. Some of the many other roles include: Chief Executives who oversee the entire business, HR Managers who make sure companies have staff with all the right skills and Administrators who support teams to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
If you’re interested in becoming a food scientist or technologist and are looking for more information, then check out these great links to resources offering more information on courses, careers, events and much more!
IFST is a qualifying body for food professionals in Europe and is covers all aspects of food science and technology.
Membership is open to anyone with a professional interest in food and it also offers student memberships which are a great way to get you started in the industry.
Their IFSTGraduate Guide to Food Science & Technology has lots of good information about courses, career options and what companies are looking for in new recruits.
Make sure you check out their events page as they often run open days and special events which are sometimes open to non-members and potential new recruits.
IFST’s Learning Zone has lots of information that you might find useful and includes a list of food science courses across the UK.
Interviewee name: Lydia Cebreiro
Qualifications: Currently studying for NVQ Level 3 HR
"I love being able to interact with different people every day and having responsibility for real business tasks."
Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
I joined Nestlé UK & Ireland in 2011 on its HR Apprenticeship Programme as a recruitment Coordinator. Before this I attended Sixth Form College but after six months of being there I realised that it wasn't the right route for me.
How have you benefitted from doing an apprenticeship rather than going straight into a job or going to uni?
The Nestlé Apprenticeship Programme provided me with an incredible opportunity to learn while I earned and to gain experience by working for the world's largest food manufacturer.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My role is seen as the ambassador of the recruitment team at Nestlé as I am the first point of contact when colleagues from around the business need information or support in recruitment. I love being able to interact with different people every day and having responsibility for real business tasks. I have learnt to use my initiative to solve problems and make decisions which is something I think is only possible through hands on experience.
How much work and study do you do each week?
I spend four days a week in the office and one day at the local college in Croydon studying for my NVQ Level 3 in HR.
Any plans for the future?
As I develop my understanding of the processes used in recruitment and roles available in HR I can see an exciting career path through this profession, which I now feel confident and capable to work in.
Interviewee name: Clare Walker
Qualification: BSc (Hons) Food Studies and Nutrition, University of Leeds
"It's an ever-changing industry with lots of opportunity to develop."
What does an average day involve?
I'm part of the Quality Assurance team responsible for ensuring our Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee are consistently produced to the highest quality for our acustomers. For me this might involve assessing our training and food safety systems and procedures, working with our suppliers to make sure they meet our high standards and liaising with other departments, such as our training and production teams, to implement new processes.
What was your career path?
I started at Taylors of Harrogate as a Trainee Food Technologist after I graduated from university. I was immediately given lots of exciting responsibilities to help me learn and develop. I also completed several external courses such as food hygiene training. After two years in the business I became a food technologist.
What is the best thing about your job?
I love my job because every day is different and I enjoy the interaction with a range of departments. There's a huge sense of achievement when you've resolved an issue or received excellent feedback from your customers.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing this career?
If you have a passion for food and enjoy science subjects then this may be the career for you. It's an advantage to get some work experience, whether that's during your school holidays or as an industrial placement as a part of your degree. I'd also recommend going to university open days to find out more about the courses they offer and speak to current students.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I expect that I'll be working in the food industry in a quality assurance based role. It's an ever-changing industry, with lots of opportunities to learn and develop.
How should you make the perfect cup of tea? Do you put the milk in first or after?
If I'm using a teapot I always warm the pot with some hot water while the kettle's on, empty that water, put in my tea, add my freshly boiling water and leave to brew for 4-5 minutes. Milk before or after is very much personal preference, but I tend to put milk in first if the tea's been brewed in a teapot.
If I'm brewing it in a mug I put tea in first as adding milk first to a mug will lower the water temperature.
Interviewee name: Chris Seymour
Qualifications: A-Level physics, chemistry and maths and an MEng, Chemical Engineering, Strathclyde University
Works: Caivano, Naples, Italy
Tell us about your job…
At the moment I’m mostly working on the visual quality of Cornetto and making things easier for the production team. My job is about improving how it looks in a small pilot plant before scaling it up to make these improvements on a global scale in a factory.
Our goal is always to improve the standard of quality of our ice cream and the best way to communicate this good quality to our consumer is to improve its visual appearance. I work on developing new processes to do this. With Cornetto it’s important to give a “ripple” effect to build a crown formation on the top of the ice cream. My work involves improving the quality of ripples in the product through different engineering design methods such as flow control, temperature analysis and pressure sensing.
What interested you about chemical engineering?
I was 17 and started looking at universities but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I was interested in engineering because the sciences appeal to me and I like working with my hands and being creative.
I chose chemical engineering because I went on a day trip to one of the universities and the IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers) sold it to me by telling me that chemical engineering is a huge part of our lives. It’s in everything around us, from shower gel to the food products in our fridge.
What subjects did you study at school?
I studied physics, chemistry and maths, which were the subjects necessary for my course - you need good, logical subjects. I really love physics. It’s a study of how stuff works and it made me interested in doing something related to calculating what’s going on around us and how to make things work.
How useful did you find your university degree?
At Unilever there are different functions like research and development (R&D), supply chain management, financial management, marketing and customer development (sales). For R&D you need a specific and strong technical qualification in order to get onto the course such as a 2:1 degree in chemistry or chemical engineering as they are very useful for the job.
R&D has a lot of different roles and during the graduate programme you get to work in all these broad areas and you’re challenged in very different ways in the different jobs. My last position was particularly academic and scientific and I spent a lot of time researching scientific papers. That was a skill I gained at university - looking through books and scientific journals to find what I’m looking for. Where I’m working now is on the cusp of making the product happen on a large scale and I need to use more core chemical engineering skills, such as fluid dynamics, flow splitting and heat transfer, to understand what’s happening.
What personal qualities are important for being an engineer?
You need to have good analytical skills. You can learn specific and technical things at university in an engineering degree but what you should be learning is how to analyse difficult technical problems. You need to understand what a problem is and where a problem stems from and during the course of a technical degree you develop a focus on being able to solve analytical problems.
Read Chris’ full interview on Tomorrow’s Engineer’s website.
Food and drink manufacturers tend to be based across the country, so bear in mind that you may not necessarily find a job on your doorstep. However, larger companies tend to have sites across the country, with headquarters in cities and large towns with good transport access. Due to their size and the need to be able to distribute products across the country effectively, production sites are can often be based in more rural locations.
It’s also definitely worth checking out the jobs areas of company websites for vacancies. If none are currently available, then contact their HR department to register your interest and to find out when opportunities might be available.
It’s also a good opportunity to contact companies directly to find out what you would need to do to be considered for your desired role. Many companies now have dedicated careers Twitter accounts or use LinkedIn so make sure you’re checking social media regularly.