Cornelius: Supporting students' training in the food manufacturing industry

Cornelius: Supporting students' training in the food manufacturing industry

(Posted on 18/05/17)

The British food manufacturing industry faces a vast skills gap. Despite being the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, a massive 109,000 positions (28% of the current workforce) need filling by just 2022, according to graduate career experts, Prospects.  Keen to address the deficit, the industry is busy coming up with solutions. These include careers campaigns such as 'Taste Success – A Future in Food' and the government's 'Your Life' campaign, which attempts to grow female engagement with the industry. 

Perhaps the most effective way for individual businesses to get involved, however, is with the funding of university courses; a scheme that Cornelius is more than happy to support. With its expert team, supported by state of the art laboratory, kitchen facilities and market insights, Cornelius has a great deal to offer students training for entry to the food manufacturing industry.

“We first started to offer support to students a few years ago, following our involvement in the FoodStart campaign” explains Joy Thomas, Technical Manager at Cornelius. Back in September 2014, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver worked alongside Cornelius, Waitrose, Warburton’s and vegetable supplier, Barfoots to support the FoodStart campaign.

Since then, Cornelius has helped students with projects in their final years at the Universities of Reading, Nottingham, Harper Adams and Bath Spa by offering insight, networking opportunities and commercially relevant projects and supporting materials. This year is no exception, with Cornelius providing support to three students at Bath Spa, including Bsc (Hons) Human Nutrition student, Holly Creighton.

Holly recently visited Cornelius to find out more. We took the opportunity to get her thoughts on the experience:

What first attracted you to a degree in Human Nutrition?

Whilst preparing for a fitness instructor course, I became fascinated with the human body and the biological effects of food. After gaining a qualification in nutrition and health, as a health care assistant, I was delighted to discover that I could continue my studies through a degree. 

What attracted you to Cornelius?

At the beginning of my final year at University I chose to pair up with Cornelius, through my course, to develop a new food product. After visiting an organisation specialising in food and drink innovation last year, I decided that I wanted to work in the food industry. After researching Cornelius I was eager to come and learn the business and the daily requirements of each job role.

How have you spent your time here at Cornelius?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet with specialists in product development, sales, marketing, regulation and legislation, who have talked me through their role requirements and daily experiences. This has provided me with an insight into the daily running of various positions available in distribution.

I have also had the opportunity to work closely in the lab with a product developer, working through recipes containing the products distributed by Cornelius. This includes determining the maximum quantity of Bettergerm® that should be added to cookies to avoid a negative impact against the product’s sensory qualities. Another project was to analyse the absent effects of calcium propionate in bread against shelf-life. 

Did you find the experience useful? Is so, in what way? 

The experience I’ve gained has provided me with a valuable insight into the industry and how each role supports another. I feel that my knowledge of the supply chain has broadened, by learning the legislation and process surrounding product development and its marketing towards businesses.  I was also able to practice my transferable skills in the laboratory, whilst learning new techniques, and how my knowledge can be applied in a professional setting. 

What key learnings have you taken away with you? 

During my time in the lab I have learned new techniques that I’ll apply during the remainder of my degree and eventually in the work place. I’ve also learned the various restrictions and requirements for each country surrounding new product development and the process for approval. Now that I have gained insight into each role and how they connect, I feel that I understand the industry a lot more and hopefully that will enable me to secure a job.

Do you think you would like to work in this field when you achieve your degree?

This experience has helped me to establish that I’d like to use my background in nutrition to work in the field of product development and innovation.

Cornelius is committed to supporting young talent entering the food manufacturing industry. For more information, please contact us today.