Chartered Institute of Marketing event speakers and students

Industry speakers inspire careers in food and farming

speakers and students

Agriculture and food production students gained invaluable advice on planning their futures at an inspirational Q and A session with a panel of industry experts

The event, sponsored by the Food, Drink and Agricultural Group of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and run by the Reaseheath Agricultural Development Academy (RADA) and the College’s agricultural department, attracted 80 students from relevant degrees and Level 3 Diploma programmes.

The panel consisted of Philip Mclaughlin (Agricultural Manager HSBC); Lisa Williams (Senior Consultant, Promar International and Genus plc); David Hall (Northern Manager EBLEX); Hayley Verney (Technical Sales Manager, AllTech) and Richard Ratcliffe (farmer and Vice Chair of Reaseheath Governors). The session was chaired by John Giles, Divisional Director of Promar International and the Chairman of CIM’s Food, Drink and Agricultural Group.

Topics included the range of jobs and careers available, how to launch and build a career, the opportunities available and what employers look for in potential staff. Clear vision, a robust business plan, a critical understanding of the marketplace and a sound grasp of modern technology were among key attributes identified by the panel as being success factors.

Wider discussion ranged from the increasing number of females at management level to the surge in opportunities offered through expanding markets in Eastern Europe and China.

Describing the session as a great success, John Giles said: “It is essential that the agriculture and food production industries engage with talented young people and fire up their enthusiasm as to what they can achieve after studying. There are limitless opportunities in the UK and abroad, not just in farming but in areas such as human resources, finance, market analysis, IT, administration and in the legal field.

“The audience at Reaseheath was full of bright, intelligent and well informed young people and the standard of questions was as high as at any event, anywhere in the country. Every question was relevant and produced interesting and, in some cases, surprising answers from the panel.

“Summing up, we all felt that the students should maximise their academic potential, keep a strong range of softer skills and remain committed to driving their careers forward.”

Harley Sneyd, who is studying for a Foundation Degree in Dairy Herd Management and hopes to specialise in cattle breeding and genetics, said: “The panel were really informative and I gained a real insight into which doors may open for me in the future. I was particularly interested in hearing their views on the future of females in farming, and found the numbers of women in top jobs very inspirational.”

Robert Yardley, a Foundation Degree in Agriculture undergraduate who is looking to progress into management, said: “Although I work on a farm, it has been brilliant learning what is available throughout the farming and food sector. I’ve seen another side to the industry and this will be very useful to me when I come to choosing my career path. The whole event has been really positive and enjoyable.”

Find out more about studying a degree at Reaseheath here.

UoC 2014 graduation

Food Chain Technology students graduate at Chester Cathedral

UoC 2014 graduation

FdSc in Food Chain Technology graduates Harriet Hughes, AIan Wise, Brendon Heath, Danielle Brown and Rachel Gray.

Four years of hard work have paid off for six industry based students who received their Foundation Degree in Food Chain Technology at the University of Chester’s Graduation.

Held at Chester Cathedral, the graduation ceremony began with a triumphant trumpet fanfare, followed by a procession of members of the University Council,  eminent guests and university staff into the cathedral. The audience was addressed by guest speaker Brian Cosgrove, the man behind classic children’s animations including The BFG and DangerMouse. Brian congratulated graduates on their achievements and thanked the University of his own honorary degree for contributions to the arts.

Danielle Brown UoC graduation 2014 FOOD

Danielle Brown outside Chester Cathedral

Reaseheath graduate Danielle Brown, who works for Goodlife Foods commented:

“When I started as a New Product Development Assistant at Goodlife Foods I told them how keen I was to continue to learn and further my knowledge of the food industry. The foundation degree gave me the opportunity to up-skill and work at the same time. I enjoyed the broad range of modules I studied and met many key industry professionals  along the way.”

Danielle continues to work for Goodlife and has been promoted to a ‘Product Developer’ where she project manages key accounts for two large retailers and a foodservice customer.

All of the graduates combined their studies with full-time employment in the food manufacturing and retail industry.

Laura Broome Alra secondment

My secondment at Arla Foods, Leeds

Laura Broome Alra secondment

On the 7th July 2014 I started my 7 week journey working at one of the world’s leading dairy facilities. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work at Arla to gain industry experience in all the different aspects of the organisation.

Before I started my secondment,  someone said this statement to me, “be a sponge Laura, just soak up all the information’” – and I can honestly say that is truly what I did.

My first week consisted of an induction programme covering all of these areas listed below:

Milk Intake

Milk Process and Production

Cream Process and Production

Cottage Cheese

Despatch

Quality and Laboratory

Supply Chain

Lean

Environment, Health and Safety

Engineering

The remaining 6 weeks of my secondment was split by spending 2 weeks working in milk process, 2 weeks in cream process and 2 weeks in the cottage cheese. At these times I worked closely with the technicians based in each of the areas. I gained an insight to the day-to-day processes from start to finish, establishing how products are made to meet customer needs. At times I operated the machines via the control rooms and other times I was out in the factory doing manual work e.g. mixing in powders to make flavoured milk or testing the cottage cheese pH levels.  I learnt about new technologies which included systems like Tetra Plantmaster, Master Production and Alfast. I also became familiar with SAP (systems, applications and products).

As well as working in the dairy I also had the opportunity to see other aspects of the food supply chain. I went to collect raw milk from farms for an afternoon, which was very interesting for me to see where the process of production starts. Also, I saw the other side of the process by delivering milk to supermarkets from 4am in the morning! This was very worthwhile for me.

alraArla supply all main stream supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, and Morrisons. To be given to opportunity to work for a company making products seen on supermarkets shelves was very rewarding for me.

I have to be very thankful to Reaseheath and to Arla for making my secondment an amazing experience and one I will not forget.

Laura Broome

Cap throw!

Reaseheath graduation opens doors to career success

Graduates from Reaseheath College received degrees designed to boost their careers at a ceremony in the centre of Nantwich.

Dressed in gowns and mortar boards, almost 150 graduates spilled out of St Mary’s Church to celebrate with Britain’s best known Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, who was guest speaker.

Food graduates marked their achievements alongside other Reaseheath graduates who had completed degrees in agricultural scienceequine science, engineeringgarden and landscape design, countryside management, adventure sports management, and rural events management, all delivered in partnership with Harper Adams University.

One of our most successful programmes in the food department is Project Eden. This programme offers dairy technologists the chance to gain a globally recognised Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology. All 23 Eden graduates excelled this year, achieving either a distinction or merit overall.

 BSc (Hons) graduates were also flying high with 30% gaining a first class honours degree, with an overall brilliant year for all our graduates in the food department.

Describing the Nantwich ceremony as one of the highlights of the academic year, Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David emphasised that the graduates would see a massive return on their financial and emotional investment. An independent analysis had shown that £40,000 spent on course fees and living expenses would secure an additional £250,000 over the span of a career. Nearly 90% of Reaseheath graduates who completed degrees last year were in related employment within six months of completing their course on an average starting salary of £21,000.

In such a competitive jobs market it  remains vital that higher education (HE) programmes are delivered and validated by high quality, well respected institutions. Reaseheath’s own HE programmes had recently been inspected by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and had received fantastic report, equivalent to an ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted.

Although academic progress was important, Meredydd pointed out that many graduates had helped to organise social events and charity fund raising, which last year contributed £12,000 to worthy charities.

Congratulating the graduates, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who studied politics and now has a seat in the House of Lords, said that education was vital and led to wider choices. Her key advice was to try something new and not be put off by failure. Although she had been dedicated to wheelchair racing from the age of 12 she did not win for four years and this had taught her how to train and be committed.

Take a look at this year’s Eden award winners here.

To find out more about our degree programmes please visit the Higher Education pages on our website.

For more photos from the day, visit the Reaseheath College Facebook page.

Level 3 Food work experience 2014

Level 3 Food Technology students get a taste of the workplace…

Level 3 Food work experience 2014

On the 19th May, Level 3 Food Technology students embarked on their four week work experience placements. Students were placed in a variety of different settings and worked in a range of food related fields.

Here is what some of the students had to say about their experiences:

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The impressive Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Jack: “I spent my work experience placement on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.  This involved delivering 5* standard waiting-on service to all the passengers. I served customers an array of different food courses up and down the length of the moving train and  developed my skills in customer service and broadened my knowledge of a the workings of a prestigious professional business.”

Martyn: “For my work experience placement I worked at Llanllyr Source Water bottling company. This involved working in the production department, packing bottles at the end of the production line along with working in the office writing up policies and procedures. I also developed my skills in customer service, answering phone calls and taking orders.”

Emma: “I did my work experience at Reaseheath College, working with the Technical Manager looking at food quality. I found the experience particularly- providing a real insight into the food industry and helped me decide the specific areas I’d like to work in.”mondelez logo

Belle: “I was at Mondelēz International, a large sweets and chocolate conglomerate, working on products for Cadbury and Milka. The majority of my work was on a secret project ‘Couch’, there was a lot of confidential work involved! I enjoyed the whole experience, it was lovely to hold detailed conversations with important people in the company and it was great to put the information I have learnt at college into a real work situation.”

Harry: “I worked at Palethorpes (Pork Farms ltd.) where I worked in the engineering and building services department. I learnt many useful things such as the function of bearings and AC and DC motors along with the difference between hydraulics and pneumatics and where they are used in the factory. I also learnt how to TIG Weld and how to wire a 240 vault plug. I also participated in a few maintenance tasks. I really enjoy working in engineering and it has made me want to pursue a career in engineering even more than before.

Joe: “I worked at David Williams Cheese, a cheese processing facility. My main role involved grating and blending cheese; I found my experience very beneficial and feel it has prepared me for a career in the dairy industry.”sauce queen

Jess: “I worked at The Sauce Queen, which I really enjoyed. I pretty much did everything in the company, I cooked the sauces, potted the sauces, paperwork such as traceability, internet orders and booking food festivals for the upcoming weeks. I worked at BBC Good Food Show which was an amazing experience; I learnt how to sell the product to the public which is hard work at first. I chose to go to The Sauce Queen as it’s a small company at the moment but growing quickly, I knew that I would learn a lot from it.”

Liam: “I spent my work experience at Primebake. Throughout the four weeks I have broadened my knowledge of mass food production, learning how flatbreads are made on a large scale. The whole process is quite complex and has made me appreciate the skills required for this type of job.”

Grant: “Throughout the past four weeks, I have learnt a lot about the meat industry and butchery – I actually boned out carcasses, offal and guts as well! I learnt about burger and sausage manufacture as well as linking and pressing burgers, ready for the shop. Being at Clewlows has definitely given me a fantastic opportunity to go into the meat and butchery industry and I am thankful for them to have been given this opportunity of work experience with such a great business.”

Rachel: “For my work experience I went to Belton Cheese, a family owned cheese company based near Whitchurch. It was a fantastic experience to work within a food company and become part of the team during my time there. I worked within the laboratory testing cheese and milk on a day-to-day basis. The skills that I gained during the four weeks will come in useful with my chosen career path within the dairy industry.”

muller wiseman logo Sophie: “My work experience was at Müller Wiseman Dairies, Manchester. I spent my time working on  a project focused around Health & Safety and Chemical onsite. I gained an insight into a production environment, seeing the full process of milk production including semi-skimmed, whole milk and organic. I took part in site audits and meetings. The main thing I took part in was COSHH (Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health) risk assessments and Klenzan chemical training. I feel my work experience has really helped to prepare me for  a life in the dairy industry and further enhanced my desire to work within this field.”

 

Belle Baldwin, one of the level 3 students who kindly collated all above work experience recollections together commented: “ from my experience and talking to other students, our work experience placements have really broadened our industry related skills, giving us a real feel for the types of roles the food industry has to offer. Quite number of students impressed their respective employers to such an extent that they have been offered further employment  proceeding the four weeks, which is brilliant news all round!

“All students would like to say a huge thank you to the companies who provided us with such great work experience opportunities.”

Karen Betts

A day in the life of… Karen Betts

 

Karen BettsReaseheath student Karen Betts chatted to staff at Reaseheath Food Centre and gave us an insight into a ‘typical day’ as Retail Technical Manager for Greggs PLC.

Here’s what she had to say:

 To give you a little background, as the a Retail Technical Manager for Greggs PLC, I currently manage four Food Safety Managers, with the primary purpose of my role being to coordinate the Food Safety Team and systems management within over 800 shops. I look after the North & Pennine Regions covering all of Scotland, Cumbria, the North East down to the Hull and North West including North Wales. As well as our own delicious cakes, we also make sandwiches fresh in store every day –  over 30 million across Greggs stores per year! We also provide freshly baked savouries, as well as preparing other hot snacks and drinks.

Now on to the day…

7:00am – Mobile phone alarm wakes me, I automatically grab my phone from under my pillow and press the off button. I contemplate going back to sleep.

7.30am – Kids all ready to go, packed lunches, P.E. kits, diary signed, kiss on the cheek, out of the door they go. Quick piece of toast with chocolate spread.   Hot shower and teeth, fresh start to the day. Glad I ironed my suit the previous day.

7:45am – Check emails at home to see what has come in overnight, customer complaint, power cut, break in, never a dull moment! After checking in and seeing that there’s nothing crazy going on, I then leave to visit a new shop opening, checking the shop has a calibrated probe, essential food safety and hygiene log books, the correct contract and documentation for pest control, that the shop has been registered to the local authority as a food business and standard procedures are being operated to the standard required.

9.00am – Arrive at the bakery to go through my emails and catch up on daily correspondence – understanding what people need and getting back to them with a resolution for their issues. I spend about an hour scanning e-mails asking and providing deliverables.

10.00am – I contact the four Food Safety Managers by telephone to check what they are doing, asking questions regarding budgets, customer complaints and environmental visits.  Communication with the team is an essential element of a Technical Manager’s role. The team needs to feel they are being looked after.

11.30am –The phone calls are continuous through the day and the questions keep arriving…

The Environmental Health Officer from the local council has been into my shop; what do I do with the report?

The electricity has gone off in my shop; should I close?

Can I bring my own hand cream into the shop as my hands are starting to hurt?

I have sent a member of staff home as they have reported sickness, when can they come back?

Where do we get blue plasters from?

12.15pm – Time for lunch, we are encouraged not to eat at our desks so it’s off to the staff canteen.  I try to sit on my own and read a good book, whilst I eat. Slightly unsociable.

12:45pm – All shops need to have all products microbiologically tested, this is a bit of the job I really enjoy.  Bacteria will naturally be present in foods. Looking for different types of bacteria and then assessing the levels is a process used to ensure that hygiene standards and quality criteria are being met.  The presence of specific types of bacteria can indicate differences in handling and storage conditions in an establishment, so a little bit of detective work is sometimes needed.

1.30pm – I am now putting together a power point ready for a presentation for the Senior Team for one of my Regions, explaining the recent changes in roles and what level of service my team can now provide.

2:30pm – Phone conference to discuss Greggs & charity donations.

3.30pm – Phone call from an Environmental Health Officer asking about details regarding the contact time for our sanitiser on a prep bench surface.  Discussed our procedures and explained how these link to our HACCP system.  The EHO is more than happy with the explanation.

4:00pm – Check through all KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for my shops, review the figures and compare with previous years.  Actually quite like figures and graphs!

5.30pm – I leave the office, look at my phone which says the word “bread”, which is my prompt to bring some bread home, hubby is not one for texting!

6pm – It’s been a long but successful day – plus tomorrow, I have a busy schedule packed with interviews, meetings, presentations and maybe some time to study for my advanced HACCP qualification. Love my job!

Karen Betts

Karen completed her Certificate in Higher Education Food Industry with Management at Reaseheath and we look forward to welcoming her back to the food department in when she will begin her FdSc  in Food Manufacturing with Business Management.

Karen Betts

From Further to Higher Education

From Further to Higher Education

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Have you applied for a higher education course through UCAS? Are you thinking about studying for a foundation degree or degree? It can be quite a big jump in studying from further education (FE) to higher education (HE), and for some students, it can take a lot of getting used to.

Whether you decide to study at Reaseheath or another Higher Education institution, the challenges are the same.

Firstly, deadlines really mean deadlines. You might have been given a few extra days by a kind module tutor in FE. If an assignment must be submitted by 5pm on a certain date, failure to submit may mean you get a big zero for that assessment at HE. And then you have to pay to resit it…

Self-motivation is really important at university. If class sizes are large, as they are in some universities, lecturers may well not know who you are, yet alone chase you up if you don’t attend lectures or submit work. Being able to sit yourself down to complete coursework on time can be a challenge, but it is a skill that can be developed.

We’ve all been guilty of putting away classwork and then not looking at it until the next session, or even not until exam revision time. In higher education, though, it is expected that you read around the topic.

Not all of the information will be given to you in  class – there are recommended reading lists to help you widen your knowledge. You’ll only get high marks if you show that you’ve studied independently and used a wide range of sources of information, referenced correctly.

Ah yes – referencing.  Even we lecturers are bored by it, but it’s not us who could be chucked off the course, or at least fail a module, if you don’t do it properly. You don’t have to memorise all the details, just know where to check. Course handbooks will contain information on the correct way to reference – follow it. Interpret and develop information you find, don’t just type in out word for word. Most universities nowadays use software to check for plagiarism (using someone else’s work and passing it off as your own). Plagiarism isn’t just copying someone else’s work, it’s using information, even a sentence, and not changing the words to interpret it into your own words.

Finally, make the most of it. Have fun, but study hard too – you’re paying for your education, so you should make sure you get your money’s worth out of it! You wouldn’t spend thousands on a car and then leave it on the driveway. So why spend much, much more on an education and then not turn up for lectures, or not hand in work?

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New staff welcomed to the food department

Helen Thorley: Laboratory Technician

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Helen took over the role of laboratory technician in March.  She has a wealth of lab experience, with a degree in applied and analytical chemistry and over 18 years working within the pharmaceutical industry,  in both quality control and development laboratories.

Helen lives locally in Stapeley with her partner and two young daughters.  Away from work, she enjoys spending time with her family.  She particularly enjoys walking and likes to get away to Snowdonia and the Lake District whenever possible.

 

 

Martin Anderson: Advanced Practitioner / Lecturer & Industrial Training Manager

Issue 3 Martin Anderson

Martin joins us from Harper Adams University where he was Senior Lecturer in Meat Science and Food Science as well as Manager for the West Midlands Regional Food Academy. He will be lecturing in higher education food courses for three days a week and managing industrial training on employers premises for two days a week.
Having studied Chemistry at Bangor University, Martin went on to laboratory, technical and operations management roles within the red meat industry for 10 years. He then went on to head up the provision of vocational qualifications in food at Telford College of Arts and Technology. After completing postgraduate study in Meat Science and Environmental Management, Martin went on to teach; Quality Management, Food Safety, Animal Products Processing, Animal Welfare, HACCP and Introduction to Business to Harper Adams’s undergraduates, whilst developing and delivering a range of Food Business Management masters level courses for industry. In managing the Regional Food Academy Martin worked with over 400 small businesses assisting them in; starting up, regulatory compliance, quality systems implementation, shelf life determination and new product development.
Outside of work Martin enjoys rock climbing and mountaineering as well as trying to keep his vintage VW camper alive.

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Consumer Studies and Market Research

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Our recently validated Foundation Degree in Food Manufacturing with Business Management has an exciting new module that I will be lead tutor on.

‘Consumer studies and market research in the food industry’, is a subject that is close to my heart, having worked in a number of fields within the manufacturing and retail sector. I have experienced the benefits of having a comprehensive knowledge of your industry market first-hand.

Small changes like altering meal size can have dramatic effects on sales.  Whilst working for Asda Walmart, I took the decision to change all Italian Ready Meals from a weight, which was neither a one nor two person serving, to a more robust and sizeable two person offer.  This was largely based on observations that I had done in store looking at who was shopping and analysing the frequency of purchase.  Overnight sales of Italian ready meals soared, and obviously efficiency of production did too – which was an added bonus to end margin.

The new module will introduce students to various concepts, including buyer behaviour, the influence of packaging, colour, importance of price points as well as effective quantitative research methodologies.  Consumer studies has a degree of psychology pertained within it, and the module will explore topics such as pester power, use of sense to drive sales, effect of lighting on mood, speed of shop etc.

Ultimately, for any student working or planning to work within the food industry, an understanding of what drives consumer purchase habits and how to optimise performance of brands is crucial to business success. This is a common thread through all operations, be it production, research and development, logistics and planning as well as technical.

I look forward to teaching what I am sure will be an exciting, thought provoking topic to all foundation degree students next year.

Toni-Anne Harrison

Andrew Moule alumni issue 2

Where are our students now? – Andrew Moule

Andrew Moule Graduate QandA - Copy
Andrew Moule

Production Manager – Muller Wiseman Dairies (Droitwich)

What attracted you to this job?

I have been working at Muller Wiseman Dairies for nearly eight years and had experience in nearly all areas of the  company’s production & logistics departments, so to manage the key production area of the business seems to be the most logical step to boost my experience, knowledge and provide me the key ingredients to step forward and progress within the business.

What does your typical day involve?

There are four roles which I undertake as Production Manager, these are Early Shift Duty Manager / Back Shift Duty Manager / Early Support Manager or Days. As duty manager I would oversee the sites milk process & production which is 5 milk pasteurisers, 3 cream pasteurisers, six standard milk filling lines, two ESL (extended shelf life) milk filling lines & 3 cream fillers. As support I would assist the Duty Manager on the early shift & on days I would concentrate on my department (Polybottle Filling) and address staffing issues for my 49 staff who report to me, health & safety & quality issues, performance improvements & general admin.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

I would say, knowing that because of mine & my teams hard work everyone can have & their enjoy their milk every day with their tea, coffee & cereal.

Tell us more about your environment in terms of work-life balance…

Due to the nature of the business the shifts range from (04:30am to 14:30) or (14:30pm to finish) (Monday – Saturday) if I am duty manager on early or back shift. If I’m working days it’s Monday – Friday 7am – 16:00.

My Girlfriend works away in the week so most weekends I spend with her. This means working the shifts in the week isn’t an issue for me.

How did you get to where you are today?

I left school at 16 and took a part time job while I looked for full time work. My Dad who was working at Wiseman’s as a Driver told me about vacancies in the logistics chill loading vehicles. I was successful in getting the job and worked for 4 ½ years in the logistics chill doing various roles before in Oct 2010 I applied for “Project Eden” which was a course run by Wiseman’s to develop staff by sending successful applicants on a 3 year foundation degree course which consisted of blocks of around 4-7 weeks per time away at Reaseheath College.

Coupled with the companies positive attitude & support towards the course I was able to gain experience in most areas of the production side of the business, develop my skills, knowledge and connections & with the knowledge & skills learnt at Reaseheath I could work with the site teams on projects and support the site teams with my acquired skill set.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path?

Gaining experience in a production environment would be a key benefit to anyone looking to go into production management.

Working or applying to a company which offers work based learning schemes such as “Project Eden” is a very good way to gain academic skills as well as practical “hands-on” skills which is what I believe employers look for.

How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for someone in your field, and how much can this be expected to rise?

Salaries are negotiated on experience & length of service so can vary.

Further to this, there are a range of opportunities within the business & industry to provide me a very secure & promising career in Dairy.

What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax?

My main hobby is cars, I own a high performance car (Toyota MR2 Turbo Import – currently 300bhp) & enjoy very much all the work that goes into maintaining it.

Apart from that I enjoy the usual things, films, socializing with friends, computer games, spending time with my girlfriend etc.

Before taking the job as Production Manager, I worked for 5 years part-time as a Special Constable for West Mercia Police, which was an amazing experience. However, due to the nature of the role, I had to leave the police to fully commit to my new job as it was infeasible undertaking two highly demanding jobs.