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New degree for food and drink industry

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Glyndŵr University has created a new degree to serve the food and drink industry.

Supported by Wales’ Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, and frozen food king Malcolm Walker, the part-time Food and Drink Management course has been developed by Glyndŵr Business School.

The degree will focus on the commercial aspect of the sector and is aimed at up-skilling aspiring managers and executives.

It will also provide a foundation and understanding of management practice within the context of the food and drink arena, with modules targeting traditional business topics such as marketing and finance to sector-specific elements including food labelling, standards and exporting and importing.

The chairman of Deeside-based supermarket chain Iceland, Mr Walker, an Honorary Fellow of the Wrexham University, threw his weight behind the degree at a launch event at the University’s Plas Coch campus.

Addressing up to 50 guests, he said: “The industry is now a completely different ball game from when we started the company.

“In this day and age we need graduates to help drive growth in the business. That’s what this degree will do.”

The course, which is primarily aimed at people already employed within the sector, who would conduct their studies in tandem with their jobs, will be available for enrolment from January.

Whilst initially launched on a part-time basis, it is expected to become available full-time from September 2015.

The unveiling of the new degree follows the launch of the Welsh Government’s Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020, which recognises the importance of the sector and sets out how the Government will work with the industry to deliver greater profitability, growth and jobs.

Food production and farming are already significant contributors to the Welsh economy; accounting for an estimated £5.2bn turnover, 45,000 jobs and £1.3bn Gross Value Added (GVA) in Wales.

Showing his support for the degree, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies, said: “This is a very exciting time to be involved in the Welsh food and drink industry – we are progressing well, but we must do more to achieve our ambitious target of increasing the turnover of the food and drink sector by 30 percent over the next seven years.

“One of our plan’s key actions is focusing on training to create a skilled and capable workforce throughout the food chain. Glyndŵr University’s new food degree is very much in line with my ambitions, helping to develop essential skills that will create and enhance career opportunities for the food sector’s workforce.”

Glyndŵr’s Head of Business, Professor Chris Jones, spearheaded the development of the degree and is thrilled at the support it has received.

He said: “At Glyndŵr University we sit down with businesses and listen to their needs. We have a strong team of academics and can help your business face-up to its challenges.

“I hope that the launch of this degree will increase engagement between the University and the local food and drink sector.”

The event was catered for by highly-acclaimed local chef Luke Thomas, who has worked alongside world-class names at some of the top restaurants in the world, including Gary Rhodes’s W1, Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa and three Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago.

Luke spoke to those in attendance and provided each guest with a signed copy of his new recipe book, Luke’s Cookbook, which was also launched on the day.

Guests were also addressed by the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Scott, who was “delighted” at the institution’s growing ties with companies big and small across the country.

They also enjoyed produce from local food and drink companies including KK Fine Foods, Snowdonia Cheese Co and Wrexham Lager.

For more information on the degree, call the Business School on 01978 293558 or email in-business@glyndwr.ac.uk

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