Last month food and beverage manufacturers from all over came together to see who would be taking home one of our prestigious Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards. It was an unforgettable night of appreciation, laughter and dancing, with our returning host Cherry Healey welcoming each well-deserved winner to the stage.
Among them was Patrick Jackson of Raynor Foods, who fought off tough competition for the Future Talent Award.
With the recruitment struggles in mind, we wanted to cast the limelight once more onto Jackson – one of the industry’s rising stars – and find out more about his route into food and drink. Here’s what he had to say…
Q: What first made you want to enter the food sector?
A: At school I quite enjoyed both the sciences (chemistry in particular) and food technology. There was a time, like most teenagers, when I did not have a clue about what I wanted to do. But through family, my eyes were opened to the opportunities the food sector could provide. Fortunately for me the food industry provided me with chance to work with both my passions in the form of food science.
Q: How did you obtain your internship?
A: Through mutual contacts I was made aware of Raynor foods as a local food manufacturer. I had contacted Raynor foods initially to see if they could support me in understanding what sort of role I could play within the food sector (with there being a heavy steer towards technical).
I was fortunate in that Tom Hollands was open to supporting me at this early stage by offering a couple of weeks working with the technical team. Thanks to this opportunity, I knew working in the food sector was something I wanted to do and strived to achieve this by completing my university studies. Like a boomerang I came back to [Raynor Foods to] further complete my sandwich year where I truly got to develop my skillsets and apply theoretical learning from university in the real world.
Q: What skills have you brought to Raynor foods?
A: My organisation, critical thinking, process technology knowledge and attention to detail improved greatly following my university studies at Cardiff Metropolitan. And, of course, these qualities have been further supported by the opportunities received from senior management at Raynor Foods.
My input has always been respected at Raynor Foods – and I am grateful for that. But I also believe a mark of my success has been seen through the positive changes I’ve helped implement via my contributions.
Q: In what ways do you see the food sector evolving in the future?
A: I can only see the food sector getting bigger and bigger (everyone needs a sandwich!). The advance technology we see across other industries – which have shown great success – will slowly carry on integrating within our sector, only improving what all food manufacturers strive to deliver the consumer – a safe, enjoyable product. Sustainability is also definitely at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: So I shall be making the next step up in the NPD department by becoming head of department and leading the way forward all things product development at Raynor Foods.
Whilst I am confident in my NPD and technical skills, I do believe this new role will bring exciting challenges and development opportunities, particularly in management.
As always, I am very grateful to Raynor Foods for the opportunities given me, which have enabled me to keep on developing within this ever-growing industry.