Lesson in solving real-life problems at food factory

Students from Sheffield have been learning about how some of the biggest confectionery brands are created after going behind the scenes at the Kraft Foods factory in Hillsborough.

Over 120 students from the Sheffield area have taken part in the Cadbury Foundation funded World of Work Programme, which was developed to support pupils undertaking diplomas in Manufacturing and Engineering.

The programme, which also runs at the Kraft Foods sites in Birmingham, has been shortlisted in the employability category for the upcoming IGD Food Industry Awards 2011.

It provides students with a guided tour of the site, allowing them to see the working factory in action.

David Presho, who runs the programme and is a production engineer at the Hillsborough factory, said: “In addition to a site tour, the students are set actual engineering problems to solve which help to deepen their understanding of the subject.

“We then invite them back a few weeks later to present their solutions to us and have a chat about their answers; it’s a great scheme to be involved in.”

Over the next three years, Kraft Foods has agreed to expand the programme to develop higher level courses that will be able to support students beyond the age of 16.

Gary Drabble, from Sheffield City Council, said: “I am really pleased that Kraft Foods has decided to expand the programme, we want to make sure students across Sheffield are armed with the tools to help them find employment after their education.

“As well as attending the World of Work programme, students have also been able to use a web-based ‘Skills Passport’ service that enables them to keep a record of desirable skills such as team working, problem solving and leadership.

“There are currently approximately 15,000 students using the system, and the plan is to expand this to every young person over the next three years.”