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Challenge gives pupils taste for careers in food industry

27th February 2007

Dornoch Academy pupils have been given a taste of running their own business over the past few weeks, by creating a new ice cream.

The pupils have been working with Harry Gow and Highland Fine Cheeses on a Food and Drink School's Challenge, which culminates in a final event on Saturday 15 March for 12 S3 pupils from the school.

The challenge has been designed by Scottish Food and Drink, in association with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Improve, the food and drink sector skills council for the UK, in a bid to help foster links between secondary schools and local food and drink manufacturers.

This is one of many partnerships between education and business which is being supported by the Scottish Executive initiative on enterprise education - Determined to Succeed, currently being promoted nationally to businesses.

The students have been asked to create a new, innovative ice cream, using products and ideas from both partner companies. The pupils have been working hard to develop new flavour combinations, planning the production process and its manufacture and producing eye-catching packaging to support their product launch at the mini trade fair which takes place on 15 March which will be judged by representatives from the partner companies.

The challenge aims to raise awareness of careers in the food industry and gain an understanding of how a business works, making direct links to the curriculum so that pupils can see where subjects taught can be applied to a real job. In addition to supporting the curriculum, the challenge builds a variety of skills and confidence as well as experience of working as a team to make decisions, which often involves improving their communication skills and developing a willingness to take responsibility and initiative.

Mhairi MacKay, Home Economics teacher at the school said: "The event has been great fun for the young people and it has given them a tremendous insight into the world of work, demonstrating the clear links between what they learn in the classroom and how this will be applied in the work-place environment."

Moira Stalker, project manager for Scottish Food and Drink said: "Many youngsters do not see beyond the white hats and coats of the processing business, and are not aware of the diverse opportunities that are available in the food and drink sector, such as marketing, product development and so on. Through the challenge we want to show what fun, creative and exciting job opportunities there are, and hope it will ignite a spark of interest in making a career in the industry."

Improve national manager for Scotland, Kelvin Thomson, said: "The Schools Food and Drink Challenge is an excellent way of encouraging schools and food and drink manufacturers to work together more closely. It delivers a taste of genuine enterprise for the young people while also introducing them to the possibilities of attractive careers in the sector."


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