Ireland’s thriving and ever-expanding agri food sector supports significant employment, and food science graduates, in particular, have a large range of career options to choose from.
Representatives from UCC told the Irish Farmers Journal that, in recent years, graduates from their food science degree have gone on to work for food companies including Kerry Group, Glanbia, Mars, Dairygold Food Ingredients, Danone Baby Nutrition, Tipperary Spring Water, Pfizer, Irish Distillers, PepsiCo and Diageo.
This particular degree prepares graduates for careers in a diverse range of roles, including food research, product and process innovation, quality assurance, customer technical services, production and management in food and related industries.
“We have seen a huge increase here in demand for our food science programme, with CAO points for entry having risen by 125 points over the last five years,” said Dr Eileen O’Neill, programme director, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences in UCC.
“This surge in demand is mainly driven by the excellent employment prospects for UCC food science graduates. Over 75% of the class of 2015 have found employment straight from college.”
She added: “As one graduate put it recently: ‘Anyone who wanted a job, had one, with many students having job offers before they sat their final examinations.’”
Pilot-scale food processing facilities at UCC provide students with hands-on experience in producing and packaging food products such as cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, beer, ham, sausages, dairy ingredients and bakery products.
UCC also notes that the abolition of milk quotas in 2015 has resulted in an unprecedented 15% increase in the volume of milk produced on Irish farms. As this extra milk is processed and made into products for consumers, there has been a significant increase in career opportunities for food science graduates in the dairy industry in companies like Kerry Group, Glanbia, Dairygold, Aurivo and Carbery. In addition, the upturn in the economy has resulted in an increase in hiring of food science graduates by food-producing SMEs.
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If you are interested in a career in the agri-industry, come along to the Irish Farmers Journal and open eir Agri Careers Fair, which takes place in the RDS on 3 March 2016. For more information, click here.