Festo supporting careers in food manufacturing
Each year the University of Nottingham plays an important role in encouraging young people to embark upon careers in food manufacture by inviting school pupils thinking of going into tertiary education to attend a Summer school to get a taster of the great opportunities on offer.
Festo was very pleased to support this event in the summer.
Nottingham opened its doors to 51 year 11 pupils (aged 15-16) from 44 schools around the UK for three days in July. The event gave them a flavour of what food science and technology is all about and was Nottingham’s fifth Summer School to help students make appropriate A level choices prior to starting a university degree.
A full programme of academic and practical activities took place over the three days providing the students an opportunity to mix and network with sponsors from industry.
Festo were there with hands-on demonstration showing the students pneumatic automation equipment which would typically be used within food production. They were able to set up circuits and use a hand pump to replicate air pressure in a system to simulate a cylinder cycling.
Also shown was the Festo Finray gripper, an example of our R&D work looking at what lessons we can learn from nature and use within future development of our automation equipment. The Finray is based on the structure of a fish tail and adapts according to the item it is picking up. This combined with the 3D printed material it is manufactured with means it can face the challenge in food processing of picking up delicate items such as eggs or soft fruit which would be crushed with standard metal grippers.
Richard Liddy, Business Development Consultant at Festo, found the event very inspiring to see how engaged the students were and their faces light up during discussions and demonstrations. “The Finray is an example of thinking outside the box which is what we need to be encouraging these students of the future to be doing.
Following their attendance the students were asked for their feedback and we were pleased the Festo workshop got some mentions:
- “I enjoyed the hands-on approach where we got to try using practical methods to learn more for example, in the engineering session”.
- “Festo and their inspirations from nature”
- “The Festo part learning about mimicking animals with technology”.
- “We were able to talk to people in business and learn what it’s like in industry”.
- “The Festo team were amazing. Showing such groundbreaking science”.
”The aim of the Summer School is to raise awareness of the opportunities available to young people in the food industry and for them to find out more about what it would be like to study a food science related degree at university” says Dr Judith Wayte BSc/MSc placement co-ordinator at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington Campus near Kegworth.
Such events are important because of the impending skills shortfall facing the food industry. It hopes to counter some of the negative views of food science held by science teachers and careers advisors.
Other companies supporting the event along with Festo included Aria Foods, Kerry Foods, Martec, Rockwell Automation, STISlimsoft, Lallemand, Nestle, PepsiCo, S&A Foods and Samworth Brothers.