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Careers in food engineering

Careers in food engineeringThere are many different routes you can take to get into food engineering. Find out how below.

What types of work can I get in food engineering?

It’s not all about inventing new kinds of ice cream! Food engineering covers a wide range of jobs, including:

  • Product development: working with the food products, packaging, etc.
  • Engineering: developing the processes and machinery to make and store the food.
  • Technical management: overseeing the way the food is made, packaged and stored.
  • Hygiene and food safety

What qualifications do I need?

A good start is to take some science-based A-levels: chemistry, physics, maths, biology. You can then specialize at degree level. There are many universities that offer degrees in food technology, and that is a good place to start if you are interested in working directly with food.

Other useful degrees include microbiology (if you are interested in food hygiene and safety) or engineering (if you are interested in the machinery used to make and store food on an industrial scale).

After you have finished your degree, you can either apply for a job directly with a company, or you can continue at university. Some students choose to continue their studies and do an MSc or a PhD.

Do I need work experience?

It isn’t essential, but like with any job, showing an interest in it will put you one step ahead of the game.

It is relatively difficult to get work experience in the food industry, but that’s not to say it isn’t possible. Think about what part-time jobs you take on, and how they might be relevant to food engineering as a future career. Working in the kitchens in a restaurant, working in a factory, even picking cabbages in a field! All of these things will give you some experience of the food industry.

It might also be a good idea to visit some larger food plants. Some food factories open their doors to the public, and many other places (such as breweries) give tours.

Working gap year

The industry is also very keen on young people doing a year in industry. A year in industry is like a working gap year. Students take a year out between their A-levels and applying to University so that they can work for a company and gain valuable experience.

You can do almost anything from software engineering to environmental conservation.

To find out more and see some examples of industry placements, check out the Year In Industry website.

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