The UK’s first higher level apprenticeship in food science and technology launches at Nottingham Trent University today. The apprenticeship – taught on day release basis over two and a half years – is aimed at professionals already in the food manufacturing industry who want to develop their technical knowledge and skills.
It has been combined with the university’s foundation degree in food science and technology, meaning students will graduate with a dual award. Assessment and coursework will be based on students’ workplaces, looking at ‘live’ examples – and modules include food science, quality assurance, food safety nutrition and product development, microbiology and biochemistry of food processing.
Students come from a range of different companies so can build up their own peer network across the food industry, providing an opportunity to get an insight into other manufacturers’ processes and operations.
Higher apprenticeships were introduced in 2009 in the engineering and IT sectors to meet employers’ needs for higher level skills and combine a range of on and off the job training. The Nottingham Trent University course is very industry-focused and relevant and has involved collaboration with sector skills councils Cogent and Improve.
The course could lead to a BSc top up degree in food science and technology, or to further career opportunities within fields ranging from food technology and quality assurance management to food manufacturing management and research and development.
Fi Thompson, the business development officer for the university’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity, giving students the chance to gain vital knowledge and understanding in a university setting, while continuing with their day jobs four days a week.
“The course aims to take food industry apprenticeships to a higher level by focusing on a more scientific and technological – rather than operational – route.”