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Abertay joins new food and drink Network of Excellence

25 March 2015

Professor Carl Schaschke with the definitive Dundee cake

As a founding member of the Scotland Food and Drink Skills Academy (SFDSA), Abertay University has been invited to join the organisation’s newly formed Network of Excellence.

Comprising only education institutions and specialist industry training companies that have clear levels of food and drink industry expertise, the Network of Excellence has been established to provide world-class vocational education and training opportunities for Scotland’s £10.4 billion food and drink sector.

Having worked with the food and drink industry for the past nine years, the University’s food innovation and product development team – Food Innovation @ Abertay (FIA) – has a proven track-record in helping Scotland’s food and drink businesses grow and develop ideas.

The team was at the heart of developing the definitive Dundee Cake recipe that has been submitted for PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status approval, and has supported over 200 industry projects in the last five years alone.

Attending the event on the University’s behalf were Professor Carl Schaschke – Head of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology, and Jennifer Bryson – Business Development Director at FIA.

Speaking at the launch event Professor Schaschke said:

“We are delighted to join the Scotland Food and Drink Skills Academy’s new Network of Excellence. As a higher education institution, we are committed to helping fill the critical skills gap currently faced by the industry and our courses and training opportunities are designed specifically with this in mind.

“At present just 11 per cent of the industry’s workforce is under the age of 24 and, as a result, it is predicted that 137,000 new recruits will be needed by 2017 to replace those who will retire over the next few years.

“In response to this, we launched our MProf in Food & Drink Innovation (Packaging and Sustainability) in 2013 which welcomes graduates from backgrounds as diverse as marketing, bioscience and engineering in order to open up the food industry to those who may not realise that their degree is relevant to a career in this sector.

“Our undergraduate and Continuing Professional Development courses also equip students with the skills and knowledge to work in this important sector so we hope that our experience in these areas will make a valuable contribution the Network and its aims over the coming years.”

Speaking ahead of the launch, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Angela Constance MSP said:

“Food and drink is a priority sector with a key role to play in our country’s economic growth and job creation – as our designation of 2015 as Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink highlights.

“Scotland’s food and drink industry is a success story we can all be proud of. But in an era of global competition, writing the next chapter means learning new skills, using the latest approaches, working smarter and embracing innovation – something our colleges, universities and industry training specialists are ideally placed to support through this new Network of Excellence.”

Angela Foreman, Partnership Manager at the Scotland Food & Drink Skills Academy, said:

“Food industry businesses sourcing workforce skills support through the Academy’s network gain the assurance they are working with Scotland’s best.

“We provide very real and very practical assistance to companies of all sizes facing challenges like cutting production costs, increasing productivity, improving processes and introducing new product innovation.

“Workforce skills are at the heart of sustainable competitive advantage and businesses that invest in their people are the businesses that succeed.”


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

Scottish food and drink manufacturing is now the country’s largest manufacturing sector employing 43,800 people with annual exports of more than £5.3 billion.

The Scottish food industry as a whole, which includes agriculture, fishing and supply chain services in addition to food manufacturing, aims to grow to £16.5bn by 2017.

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