The Chilled Food Association’s innovative project to nurture the next generation of chilled food scientists, Chilled Education, has seen off stiff competition to be declared the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) Education Initiative of the Year 2014.
The awards recognise outstanding achievement and ambitious achievement across the industry and attracts hundreds of entries from companies ranging from independents to multi-nationals. At last night’s ceremony CFA Director Kaarin Goodburn MBE received the award from TV and radio newscaster Katie Derham.
At the ceremony the assembled audience, which included some of the food industry’s leading figures, heard how Chilled Education (CEd) aims to inspire the next generation of chilled food scientists. Working with industry and education specialists it raises awareness of careers in the chilled food industry amongst teachers and schoolchildren and supports food science students.
FDF Awards Judges declared CEd to be: ‘the most impressive entry’, ‘especially inspiring – really innovative approach and great connection with their intended audience. Loved it!’ Impressed that it is: ‘concerned with the importance of the recruitment pipeline which is instrumental in developing their outreach strategy’ they concluded it to have ‘the most impressive size/effect ratio’.
Other shortlisted entries in the category, which was sponsored by Food Matters Live, included Coca Cola Enterprises, KP Snacks and Nestle UK Ltd.
Kaarin Goodburn explains: “The FDF Awards proudly showcase the ‘industry’s best and brightest’, recognising existing talent and working to secure the future success of the food sector. Which is exactly what CEd is also doing, and is why this award means so much. We are delighted to be recognised by them.”
“This year CFA celebrates its 25th year. In that time we have guided, championed and innovated an industry that has grown from a market worth of £550m to a current value of £11.4bn. Yet the relative invisibility of the chilled food sector means it is often overlooked as career choice amongst scientists and technologists. This means that there are currently around 350 science and technology graduate-level degree-requiring vacancies unfilled. We’re gratified that our approach, bringing together industry and education professionals and taking innovation into the classroom is already having a very positive effect.”
CEd is currently working with 940 teachers in more than 600 Cool Schools, engaging with more than 50,000 students. Its resources (donated by CFA) are hugely popular, with 85,000 fridge thermometers and 25,000 Nanobug temporary tattoos sent out since 2011. Free CEd lesson plans have been downloaded more than 15,000 times. The website has attracted almost 32,000 page views, the careers pages are most popular. And CEd has sponsored 34 summer school students and has already placed its first students.
The lesson plans for teachers have been developed by CFA in partnership with the Design and Technology Association, the professional association representing those involved in design and technology education and associated subject areas.