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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.

Reaseheath Farm Centre

Reaseheath Food Centre – taking stock 2013-2014!

Reaseheath Farm Centre

As we draw to the close of what has been a very successful year in the food department, it is important to take stock and reflect on some  key achievements:

BRC 6 Grade A – what an outstanding accolade  for industry to achieve, let alone a college!

Bakery – We now have a fantastic bakery facility, with the standard of student work having been truly exceptional this year.

Butchery – Douglas Ewen joined us in November with a view to heading up the highly anticipated Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery.  Douglas has taught across the food department this year, introducing students to the rigors of life within the meat sector.  We hope that the new course will provide a platform for those students who want to ‘multi-skill’ within bakery and butchery, as well as those for whom specialism is key.  Douglas was also successful in entering a group of students in the Britain’s Best Burger competition sponsored by EBLEX, where we came a fantastic bronze!

HE – provision has been strengthened this year, with the validation of our new BSc (Hons) Food Manufacturing with Operations Management, giving a clear pathway from Level 3 food through to Level 6.  We look forward to our first intake of students in September for this course.

Individual Recognition Award – May saw our very own Food Curriculum Area Manager Nick Blakemore  rewarded for his support given to team members.  Nick is a crucial member to the team, who always displays a high degree of empathy and understanding for colleagues and students alike.  Well done Nick!

 

Toni-Anne Harrison

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