Universities in the UK are being invited to compete to develop a specialised food and beverage engineering degree to address the industry shortage of food and beverage engineers.
Industry groups are launching the initiative in response to increasing competition for engineering graduates from other industries. The industry has experienced heavy demand for specialist food and beverage engineers due to increased use of high-tech automated production techniques and demand for product innovation.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said the selected university “will become the UK’s centre of excellence for food and drink engineering” and will help raise the profile of the profession. It anticipates that the program will produce engineers who are familiar with cutting-edge food and beverage manufacturing technology and the scientific aspects of food and drink production.
As no such degree is currently available in the UK, the food and beverage industry invests considerable time and expense bringing general engineering graduates up to speed in areas such as hygiene, supply chain integration, sustainability, lean processes and design for maintenance.
“We’re looking to select one university to work with ourselves and the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink to develop a degree that supports our Graduate Ambition programme of attracting top class young talent qualified to meet the specific needs of our sector,” said FDF’s HR Director Angela Coleshill.
A special briefing for UK university representatives will be held at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in London on April 19 to learn more about the proposal, which is an initiative of: the Food and Drink Federation (FDF); Improve, the skills council for food and drink manufacturing; and the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink.