As part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (2-6th November), female students from schools across Lancashire have received an exclusive insight into careers in food engineering from PepsiCo UK’s Skelmersdale site.
PepsiCo opened its factory doors for A-Level and BTEC students from Cardinal Newman College; Winstanley College; Canon-Slade School; Deanery CE High School, and Range High School, for a special engineering workshop as part of a partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and youth social business MyKindaFuture.
The event involved company engineers setting an engineering challenge for the Year 12 and 13 students who had previously expressed an interest in careers in food and drink, and the industry-supported BEng and MEng Food Engineering degrees at Sheffield Hallam University.
The pupils were taken on an exclusive factory tour and were able to experience the day-to-day workings of various production lines. They were subsequently challenged with recommending how a particular line could be improved, taking into account factors such as cost, efficiency and sustainability.
Students also had the chance to quiz PepsiCo engineers on their careers and discuss food engineering courses on offer with a Sheffield Hallam University representative.
Star pupils, Danielle Pollitt-Walmsley and Lucy Heap, were selected for their outstanding contribution to the day, and will receive a week’s work experience at PepsiCo during the summer holidays.
The winning group – Lucy Heap, Gemma Cooke, Elizabeth Bywater and Elan Hutchinson – were judged by a PepsiCo panel and selected for their enthusiasm, unique ideas and creativity in addressing the task.
The partnership between FDF and MyKindaFuture aims to bring businesses and young people together to promote careers in food and drink engineering and give young people a first-hand taste of the food and drink industry – the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.
Angela Coleshill, director of Competitiveness at FDF, commented: “The skills agenda is a top priority for our industry. We are proud that our members continue to support careers initiatives such as the MyKindaFuture engineering events to ensure a solid succession plan for employment in our sector, particularly for their role in supporting FDF’s Women into STEM pledge.
“At the heart of this collaboration is the aim to raise awareness for the industry-backed Bachelors and Masters in Food Engineering degrees at Sheffield Hallam University.
“Students took away an understanding of how they can use their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects towards an exciting career in food and drink. The exclusive event provided an opportunity for the students to network with employees at one of the UK’s top food and drink companies.”
Ali Atkins, HR director at PepsiCo UK & I, added: “Our industry needs high-end talent to lead our engineering into the future – we need people skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths to develop the wide range of products we enjoy, and to drive innovation in the food and drink industry.
“These engineering workshops are not only a great opportunity for the students to engage with PepsiCo engineers and find out more about engineering as a career path, but also a great opportunity for us to meet and nurture the next generation of engineers.”