December 2013

Food, Glorious Food

Read time: approx 3 mins

School pupils got a taste of the varied career paths available in the food industry at a special event featuring hands-on workshops at UCB.

Students from 10 schools took part in activities such as food styling and designing a new chocolate bar at first ever Food, Glorious Food event. 

The day, which touched on issues such as food branding, labelling and quality control, was praised by visiting teachers for giving their pupils an insight into the diverse jobs suitable for graduates with degrees in Food and Consumer Management and Culinary Arts Management.

We are trying to bring into school a wider awareness of careers and this event is a glorious opportunity for us. As far as we are aware, no one offers a similar day to this and we leapt at the chance to come along. We only offered the course to specific students at our school, but we could have brought 50.

Katrina Jones, design and technology teacher at Charlton School, Telford

The array of people who gave talks were very inspirational and our students are now researching food careers alongside their other interests.

Laura Burgoine, food technology teacher at Rye St Antony School, Oxford

Mondelez Scientist II and UCB graduate, Hannah Bird, explained the development of an innovative chocolate bar from it’s initial concept through to the final launch, highlighting the important knowledge and skills involved in the process.  Students were fascinated by the ‘story’ and especially the prototype produced by 3D printing.  

UCB staff led a series of four workshops throughout the day, supported by UCB graduates working within different fields of the industry.  They were helped by current undergraduates, including student ambassadors. Rachel Young, a third year Food and Consumer Management student, assisted in the food styling session, in which pupils were challenged to make scones, jam and cream look as seductive as possible.

Rachel drew on the experience she gained during a year-long work placement at the London headquarters of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. During her time with Jamie, Rachel took part in food styling, recipe- testing, TV filming and worked on the chef’s latest book, Save With Jamie.

She also had to cater for Jamie’s team – including the chef himself. “I cooked a whole baked salmon for Jamie. It was quiet nerve-wracking but he is really lovely.”

Pupils also experienced sensory evaluation for both quality assurance and shelf life assessment, all key activities in the development of food products. Steff Pollard from New Ivory guided students through the activities. 

Rachel Blakemore, from Bluespark Recruitment told young delegates about the different areas of employment open to graduates in the food industry, including: new product development; quality assurance; product selection, buying and retailing; product testing and evaluation; and marketing management.  They also learned about the various jobs available in consumer education, such as food styling and journalism; PR, promotions and events; and teaching and lecturing. They were also given an outline of the potential for further study, such as a postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) and masters level study.  They then had the opportunity to chat with current students, graduates and staff to find out more about the food programmes at UCB and potential careers.

Mandy Lloyd, Conference Organiser said ‘Food offers a fabulous career in a wide variety of different disciplines.  We identified that many young people were unaware of the breadth of opportunities, so organising a conference dedicated to A level students was the perfect medium to highlight the careers and also provide practical example of skills and jobs working with food’. Staff were delighted with the response to the event and the interest and enthusiasm generated on the day.  ‘Hopefully, this will become an annual event’ concluded Mandy. 

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