Blog by Alastair Boot, Senior Lecturer in Retail Marketing and Management:
People need food! Just as obvious, after industry research, is that food needs people; specifically, the food industry needs graduates. In its recent report, the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) predicts that the UK’s largest manufacturing industry will continue to have a skills gap particularly for young people with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education.
The roles that recruiters need to fill are technical, operational and managerial in the fields of food development, food marketing, food processing, food supply chain and food retail. So whether a person’s strengths lie in creativity, science or leadership, the food industry holds career paths and development opportunities for all graduates. The National Skills Academy provide a great careers map to help people understand the potential roles better.
The demand for graduates in the food industry is one reason why Harper Adams University has such a high employability record. Other reasons include our placement year which prepares students for the world of work and the applied nature of the courses in food technology, marketing, development and processing.
The IGD report also suggests that solutions to filling this skills gap include interaction with employers, building teachers’ understanding of the industry opportunities and creating activities targeted at recruiting STEM students. Delivering all these solutions, five universities including Reading and Cardiff as well as Harper Adams provide Food Science Summer Schools annually.
The Harper Adams University Food Science Summer School runs between 9 and 11 July and is still open to applicants. During three days with staff and students from the Food Department, year 12 students will see the industry in action and meet employers on visits to local businesses, taste undergraduate study through lectures and practicals and sample campus life.