Ofsted applauds Holbeach's training

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

NCFM works closely with food firms to develop their employees' skills
NCFM works closely with food firms to develop their employees' skills

Related tags Skill Industry Food

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), part of the University of Lincoln's Holbeach campus, has been praised by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), which inspects educational establishments, for the training it provides to the UK’s food manufacturing sector.

Following an inspection of food apprenticeships and English language courses at the NCFM, Ofsted made particular mention of the value that employers placed on the good training their employees received at the NCFM.

The training provided is designed to meet the specific needs of businesses and this has resulted in the NCFM developing close partnerships with a wide range of employers.

The Ofsted report noted that learners “successfully gain qualifications that have a very positive impact both on their own working conditions and job prospects, and on the effectiveness and efficiency of their employers’ businesses”.


The NCFM works with local and national companies on technical projects tackling some of the challenges facing the food industry today, including new product development and automation. Many NCFM students were said to progress into more senior roles at work or continue their studies within higher education.

The NCFM currently has 2,500 full and part-time students, serving what is claimed to be one of the UK​s largest concentrations of food manufacturing businesses in the country. The NCFM has a product development kitchen, food manufacturing hall, conference rooms and food microbiology and chemistry analytical labs.

Sharon Green, head of skills and work-based learning at the NCFM, said: “We are really pleased with Ofsted’s assessment of our provision, which endorses the huge effort that both the University and employers put into raising skill levels to support the massive technical advances that are occurring in the sector.

“The inspectors were impressed with the level of skill and technology they observed. We are very appreciative of the great support we receive from local businesses.”

Cultivate talent

The NCFM has partnerships with a number of large food firms and supports employers seeking to cultivate talent within their businesses and develop their own food technologists.

Chilled own-label food manufacturer Bakkavor, which regularly uses the NCFM, welcomed the Ofsted findings. Gillian Haythornthwaite, head of talent and development, said: “At Bakkavor we are committed to ‘growing our own’ people, and our apprenticeship scheme plays a fundamental role in achieving this.”

She added: “Our aim is to attract and develop young individuals who have the potential to set and drive industry-leading standards in key areas such as manufacturing and food technology.”

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