Students get a taste of Engineering at Premier Foods factory in Worksop

A group of students got an exclusive insight into what it's like to be an engineer working in the food and drink industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector.

The University Technical College Sheffield students visited the Worksop factory of Premier Foods yesterday to find out how products such as OXO stock cubes and Bisto gravy are made. The year 13 students were given a tour of the state-of-the-art and high-tech food production facilities and took part in a production engineering exercise which involved an OXO cube and Supernoodle challenge designed to bring engineering to life.

The visit forms part of food and drink manufacturers' drive to recruit students onto the industry-backed MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University. This masters course has been specially designed to develop the food and drink engineers of the future and is delivered by the recently launched National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.

The degree course, exclusively delivered by Sheffield Hallam University offers real job prospects for its graduates. Students starting the MEng Food Engineering degree in September 2015 may also be eligible for a Food and Drink Federation bursary of £2,500.

Karl Smith, Factory General Manager, at Premier Foods said:

“There are many exciting career opportunities in the UK food and drink manufacturing industry including, for example; engineers, food scientists and technologists. We're delighted to welcome these young students to our site and we hope to encourage them to consider the MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University and a future career in the UK food and drink industry.“

Nick Crew, UTC Sheffield Principal, said:

“We are delighted with the support offered by Premier Foods in giving an insight into the production facilities and technical careers within the food and drink industry. We work closely with employers and part of that involves raising awareness of the range of fantastic careers opportunities available within food engineering.

“UTC Sheffield provides the perfect learning environment to support the technical and employability skills of the future workforce. Students have the chance to go onto apprenticeships or university including the recently launched MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University.“

View photos from the visit on Flickr.


1. The MEng Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University has been developed by Graduate Excellence, a partnership between the Food and Drink Federation, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink and Sheffield Hallam University. Students benefit from guaranteed competitively-paid work placements and have exclusive access to jobs that are only on offer to course graduates (subject to final grades, references and employer recruitment processes).

2. Companies supporting the MEng Food Engineering include: ABP UK, apetito, Ardo UK Ltd, Arla Foods, Burton's Biscuit Company, Cargill, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Dalehead Foods, F. Duerr & Sons, Fine Ladies Bakeries, Finsbury Foods, Fosters Bakery (Staincross) Limited, General Mills, Kavli UK Ltd, KP Snacks, Maple Leaf Foods, Mars, McCain Foods Ltd, Mondelèz International, Müller Dairy, Nestlè UK, New England Seafood, New Primebake and Bakkavor, Nom Dairy, Princes Limited, PepsiCo UK, Pork Farms, Premier Foods, Silver Spoon, AB Worlds and Jordans & Ryvita, Simpsons Ready Foods, Tate and Lyle Sugars, United Biscuits, Warburtons, William Jackson Food Group.

3. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector.

4. The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink is the food and drink manufacturing industry's skills body. The Academy was created in 2007 to facilitate sector specific training provision to drive up sector productivity and competitiveness in line with employer needs. Training organisations that become part of the Academy undergo rigorous quality checks and include both publicly and privately funded learning centres. Each delivers some aspect of skills development for the food and drink manufacturing industry as a whole, and/or specialist skills for one of its various sub-sectors.

5. Sheffield Hallam University is one of the UK's largest universities with more than 36,000 students, 27,000 of which are undergraduates. The University has the fourth highest number of postgraduate taught students in the UK and runs approximately 580 different courses. The University is England's largest provider of courses that involve work placements (such as a year in industry) and 91 per cent of the University's graduates are in work or further study six months after graduation.

6. Graduate Excellence has received co-investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) through the Employer Investment Fund.

7. Premier Foods is the UK's largest food producer headquartered in St Albans, Hertfordshire.