Sharon Green from the National Centre for Food Manufacturing at the University of Lincoln, one of the universities involved in developing the Degree Apprenticeship programme, explains how the apprenticeships will bring together the best of higher education and vocational training to plug the skills gap in food manufacturing.
Sue Densley of The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink describes progress towards the establishment of Degree Apprenticeships for food technical professionals.
The Degree Apprenticeship is a four-year programme which embeds a BSc (Hons) Food Science and Technology degree alongside a structured work-based training programme."
The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) has been working with employers, universities and the IFST to develop a degree apprenticeship programme for food technical professionals.
The UK needs more engineers, especially the food manufacturing and agri-tech sectors. Estimates vary, but for future sustainable economic growth it is reckoned that the UK’s engineering employers need to recruit 182,000 people with engineering skills each year; currently there is an annual shortfall of 69,000 advanced technicians and engineers.
Attracting more foreign students is not the answer as currently about half of overseas engineering graduates return to their country of origin. Post Brexit the option of filling gaps by importing talent becomes more challenging.
For the past 40 years, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) have provided businesses throughout the UK with the opportunity to accelerate innovation and drive productivity. Funded through Innovate UK, KTPs exist to provide businesses with early career graduates/post graduates and the necessary academic support to undertake ambitious projects that may otherwise not get off the ground. The collaboration of universities with businesses offers a unique opportunity for commercial growth and academic research.