The websites will be aimed at children aged 5–16 and the CFA hopes to reach more than 10,000 students at over 200 UK schools during the next 12 months, Kaarin Goodburn, CFA secretary general, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
Alison Robertson, CFA chairman and technical director of Daniels Chilled Foods, said: “As we look to create a sustainable future, we need to get youngsters interested and engaged at an early age. By working with schools to bring the chilled food industry right into the classroom we aim to address this.”
Chilled food sector
The first of the two websites, www.chillededucation.org, will contain careers information and password-protected lesson plans for CFA members who can take them into classrooms to teach children about the chilled food sector.
“The CFA is keen to get its members out into the classroom to use their industry experience to bring the subject to life and show youngsters how dynamic, relevant and interesting chilled food is,” said the CFA.
Members will be given training to ensure lessons are given in a consistent way, said Goodburn. Also the lesson plans are minutely detailed in order to ensure uniform training standards.
“Our lesson plans start by telling people the basics, such as introducing yourself, telling people about your company and the role that you do; bringing in some food packs to share, and helping the children figure out what other jobs people do in your industry,” she said. “It’s all starting with five-year-olds so it starts out quite simple for them.”
The careers information part of the website is designed to be used with children. It will cover all aspects of the chilled food industry from new product development to labelling and hygiene.
The website will also carry careers information, interviews with recent graduates working for CFA member companies and details of food science and technology related degree courses in the UK, the CFA said.
The other website, www.data.org.uk/cfa, has been made in partnership with the Design and Technology Association (DTA) – the professional body for design and technology educators.
It will be free for teachers to use and will provide detailed, science-heavy, lesson plans aimed to help bridge the food sector’s skills gap while fitting in with government curriculum, said Goodburn.
“They will be filled with loads of fun stuff such as UV glowing hand-gel [that shows the germs that are on hands],” she said.
As well as 500 of the Glo-Germ kits, the CFA is providing 10,000 fridge thermometers and light-hearted videos that make serious points about the correct handling of chilled foods, the CFA said.
The lesson plans will be distributed through the DTA as well as the network of 28,000 volunteers of the science, technology, engineering and maths ambassadors.
Lessons can be just 40 minutes or an hour or can last up to a day full of practical activities, said Goodburn.
“These resources will be of value to both science and careers teachers, students and parents. It clearly meets an identified need and will make a valuable contribution,” said Professor Jack Pearce of the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST).
The project has the support of the Science Council, the IFST, the Association for Science Education – of which the CFA is a member – and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.