Unique insight into top local and UK brands

Students were given a unique opportunity to hear from local and UK-wide companies and brands about the secrets of their success.

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Industry expert representatives

The ‘Food, Nutrition and Textiles Education’ students usually enjoy work placements as part of their course, but due to Covid restrictions, lecturers adapted their curriculum and introduced an exclusive virtual ‘Industry Insights Programme’.

Gemma McKenzie, Module Leader and Tutor explained: “Like many students, the Food, Nutrition, and Textiles Education degree students (trainee home economics teachers) at Perth College UHI cannot do their industry work placements given the Covid-19 restrictions. Ordinarily they would be working in professional kitchens, hospitality environments, or in textiles organisations.

“In order to continue to offer valuable industry knowledge, we looked at a virtual alternative to what should have been their industry placements. We’re really grateful to the industry professionals and their companies who were generous with their time and gave our students a priceless exposure and insight into their sector.

“The trainee teachers will soon be teaching the next generation - and workforce pipeline - of pupils who want to work in our much-needed food, drink, hospitality and textile sectors, which have been hard hit during the pandemic. The course is an interesting mix in terms of students – some are young, and some are career changers. They all learned a great deal and we’re very grateful to everyone involved for sharing their fascinating stories and expertise.”

Student Hazel Marshall said: “This programme was a fascinating insight to these very relevant sectors. I feel my strengthened knowledge and understanding will ultimately enhance my teaching practice - to the benefit of my future pupils.”

Company representatives that shared their experiences with the students included:

Taystful: Shona Sutherland who discussed the preparation, planning and execution of team competition work for the Culinary Olympics.
Comrie Croft: Andrew Donaldson who offered a live walk through of the premises and an overview of the business.
• Glasgow City Council: Karen Gunn from the Environmental Health department who offered an overview focusing on compliance and specific health concerns especially relevant to students operating in a food and drinks environment.
Innocent: Florence, Louisa, and Tim who introduced the Innocent brand, history and culture, products and nutrition.
Loch Leven Brewery: Gareth and Brian provided a brand introduction, exploration of career journeys, manufacturing and production processes, and talked about ingredients, nutrition/chemistry, and quality control.
Ballintaggart: Chris and Rachel Rowley explored their experience setting up and running a kitchen, their business success, and how they have adapted business during lockdown by offering an essentials shop and takeaways. They also provided a live tour of their premises and introduced some of the team.
Summer Harvest Oils: Mark Bush shared the farming process, production, sustainability, followed by an overview of Mark’s background, the business, challenges, and aspirations.
Prickly Thistle: Clare Campbell offered an overview of the business and explored their values and ethos in relation to sustainable fashion. Clare also provided a live tour of the mill.
Combat Chefs: An insight into the role 167 Catering Support Regiment plays in catering support to The British army.
Alex Begg: Sarah Marshall (Textiles Technologist) and Barbara Birnie (HR Director) gave an overview of the textile organisation and their role as a sustainable, luxury manufacturer.

Florence and Louisa from Innocent shared the top brand’s story with students.

Screenshot of virtual meeting