- Do you struggle to recruit bright technologists and scientists?
- Do you worry about the pipeline of science talent, and how this may affect your business and the wider food industry?
IGD's food science summer schools have been developed to help address the skills gap, providing young scientists with the opportunity to understand the important role of science in the food industry and to make them aware of the exciting careers and opportunities food science and other related courses can lead to.
We are looking for food and grocery industry companies to help
Over 20 years ago IGD's Technical Leadership Forum members agreed to provide financial support to a food science summer school at the University of Reading. This was followed by seed funding to establish a new summer school at the University of Nottingham in 2009, one at the University of Leeds in 2013 and another launched at Newcastle University in 2015.
After the initial seed funding Universities are encouraged to build relationships with industry to source sponsorship to fund the student places, ensuring financial viability for future years. This is where you come in!
Ensure the scheme continues and allow the initiatives to grow
We have a wide group of companies already involved - sponsoring students, opening up their factory doors and running practical and industry-specific activities - but are always seeking more.
IGD can provide you with more information about the food science summer schools and what is involved in sponsoring one - email firstname.lastname@example.org - or you can contact the university providers of existing summer schools about funding student places directly:
Why summer schools?
The food science summer schools help to address the technical skills shortage in a number of ways, including:
- Making students aware of the careers to which food science can lead
- Providing a taster to food science degrees and how the skills are used within industry
- Educational, fun activities demonstrating practical processes, such as product development
- Dispelling the perception that food science is ‘all about cooking’, instead reinforcing that it covers complex science with very practical applications
- The chance to experience university life
Since 2010, over 700 students have attended the food science summer schools. Feedback has been positive, with results from last year showing:
- 97% of students agree the summer school improved their knowledge of food science in the industry
- 66% stating they would like a future career working in the food industry
Previous student feedback from 2014 includes:
“I learnt a lot about the food industry and how complicated food production can be”
“I really enjoyed the talks with people working in the industry, as they helped me to see what a food science degree leads to”
“[The course] confirmed my future career aspirations of working in the food industry”
Through the universities involved, we know that many summer school attendees have gone on to study food science and have subsequently joined the food industry. For example, of those that attended the University of Leeds summer school in 2013, more than half (55%) applied to study food science and related degrees.
IGD’s TLF remains supportive of the summer school scheme, which is why the group has pledged to set up a more summer schools in the future. Raising awareness of the science and technical skills that are needed in industry, both now and in the future, is in the interest of all food and drink businesses.
Find out more about TLF here.