Apprenticeship on offer for professionals looking to take their career further in food business management

A newly updated, industry-shaped qualification which develops future senior managers for food industry businesses is seeking professionals looking to take their career to the next level.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship in Food Business Management course is a professionally-focussed apprenticeship delivered by the new Food, Land and Agri-Business Management department at Harper Adams University, which was officially launched on August 1.

The department will focus on future skills development, enterprise assistance and research and which will play a key role in the University’s response to the National Food Strategy, the first independent review of the UK’s food system in 75 years.

The Senior Leader Apprenticeship runs over two years, and has recently been reviewed and updated. On completion this can be extended to an MSc or MProf qualification if participants choose to follow further study. A full-time or part time route to enrol directly on these qualifications is also available for those who wish to pursue them without the apprenticeship.

The course has been drawn up through extensive work with industry, including focus groups with food businesses and experts, Harper Adams graduates and students. It harnesses the wealth of knowledge at Harper Adams University, the UK’s leading specialist university for the agri-food and rural business sectors.

Course manager Dr Jane Eastham worked with businesses to shape the course, drawing upon her extensive food industry experience and her ongoing research, including into the development of sustainable and innovative supply chains.

She said: “Food businesses, their management and their supply chain have been very much in the news in recent months – and these stories have shown how important it is for the industry to have knowledgeable professionals. It’s crucial these people have both experience in their sector and the skills to apply that experience critically, considering public policy issues, the global commercial environment, industry priorities and more.

“That is one of the reasons we worked with industry specialists and more to shape this unique qualification – aimed at helping to provide the future leaders the food sector needs to compete globally.”

Among those who have undertaken the course is Robert Boffey, who added: “The course breaks down thought processes by focussing on different segments of management.

“I particularly found the leadership and people management module very engaging, as I could instantly see how different people react in different scenarios and how the way we act affects those around us.

“Being involved in production and technical departments I found that the Operations and Project Management module provided a stage gated method, highlighting the importance in taking a step back from major projects and seeing the project as a bigger picture – as time can be wasted focusing on the smaller detail, when really the main direction may be heading away from businesses’ true progression route.”

To be eligible for the course, which is a level seven postgraduate level qualification, applicants should typically have a food or business degree, or degree apprenticeship at level six in a related discipline. They should be employed and salaried by a company in England for the full duration of their apprenticeship, working a minimum of 30 hours per week.

Dr Eastham added: “These apprenticeships are designed to develop further the ongoing experience that people employed in relevant sectors will have, with appropriate training to support specialist development – and throughout this two-year, part-time course, that development is what we seek to deliver for those in suitable careers.

“As they progress through the course, apprentices will build their skills in management – working with both projects and people; their research, information and finance knowledge; and they’ll gain a broader insight into marketing, global policy, innovation and change and more.”

To find out more, applicants can either review the Senior Leader Apprenticeship in Food Business Management page in the Degree Apprenticeship pages of the Harper Adams website, or can contact Dr Eastham directly here.

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