Students that have been accepted to study on the UK's first ever food and drink engineering degree are set to be offered a combined total of £100,000 in bursaries in their first year to reduce the effects of debt.
The measures have been announced by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and will be extended to a total of 40 students undertaking the course, which begins at Sheffield Hallam University in September 2014.
Each student on the course will be offered a first year bursary of £2,500, and will also have the opportunity to take advantage of a number of placements for each year, which will be paid at a rate of £15,000 to £17,000 pro rata.
The FDF claims that the new measures will ease the financial concerns of students looking to make a start within the industry and that it was delighted to be offering such a substantial bursary scheme for new students.
Angela Coleshill, director of employment and skills at the FDF, said: “As the largest manufacturing sector, our success depends on our ability to remain competitive, without the right skills and talent behind it; our industry won’t meet future challenges. This degree and the competitive bursaries available will not only help equip graduates with the right skills that our industry needs but also assist with the financial burden many students face today.”
The formation of the new course is the result of a partnership between the FDF, the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and Sheffield Hallam University.
It is also supported by a number of big names within the industry, including Coca-Cola Enterprises, Premier Foods, Arla Foods, Burton's Biscuit Company, Mondelez International and Nestle UK among others.
It comes on the back of new figures showing the food and drink industry, which is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, will need around 170,300 new recruits by the year 2020.