The UK food and drink manufacturing sector is marking National Women in Engineering Day (23rd June), organised by the Women’s Engineering Society, through a series of events for young people and educators to raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of women engineers in our sector.

Representatives from some of the UK’s biggest brands are taking part in activities to give students and educators a taste of the day to day responsibilities of a food engineer, as well as helping young women understand the different routes into the industry which are available to them.

Danielle Epstein, a graduate chemical engineer, who recently joined Coca-Cola Enterprises’ University Talent Programme in Supply Chain has been taking part in “I’m an Engineer, get me out of here”. This is an online event where school students get to interact with engineers to get an insight into what it’s really like to be an engineer in the food and drink manufacturing sector. Danielle is also able to talk to them about why she chose engineering as a career and her first job role on the graduate scheme as an asset care system’s supervisor, working on maintaining production line equipment in the biggest soft drinks factory in Europe.  

Building on the work of the UK’s first MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University, Hannah Whall, Nestle UK & Ireland’s project engineer, is speaking to 35 female pupils from local secondary schools at Sheffield Hallam University about her role as a food engineer for one of the country’s largest food and drink manufacturers as well as take part in activity to really help bring engineering to life.

These events form part of FDF’s Taste Success careers campaign and STEM pledge to support the Government’s “Your Life” campaign which aims to increase participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) especially amongst women.

Angela Coleshill, director of employment and skills at FDF, said: “Food and drink, the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and employs up to 400,000 people, however an ageing workforce means that between 2010 and 2020 food and drink businesses we will need to recruit 170,300 individuals and engineering is one key vital specialism we need to continue to grow and remain competitive. Through initiatives like the creation of the UK’s first MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University and the Government’s “Your Life” campaign, we are working to raise the profile of food engineering by highlighting the range of rewarding careers on offer and the many benefits of working in an innovative, dynamic and growing sector.”