Reaseheath welcomes Czech dairy students

A few weeks ago Reaseheath became home to a group of 13 dairy students and a tutor from the Czech Republic for two weeks.

The students have been enjoying an Agri-Food study visit funded by the European Erasmus+ VET programme, which aims to promote vocational educational training within the European community.

Our visitors spent three days with our Agriculture team milking cows, lambing and learning some basic theory about UK agriculture. They then joined our Food Department for a week, where they learnt some fundamentals about meat, dairy, and bakery technology. This included a variety of practical sessions to support their learning, including making soft cheeses, butter, lemon curd and croissants – they certainly ate well!


The group with Agriculture Programme Leader Iain Clarke and lecturer Alan Brown.

The group with Agriculture Programme Leader Iain Clarke and lecturer Alan Brown.

The students, ages 18-20, stayed in Platt Hall, our newest student halls of residence. For nine it was their first time in England, so this not only gave them a taste of life on a UK campus but also helped them develop their English language skills and gave them an appreciation of UK culture.

They also enjoyed a visit to Liverpool and its many museums and arts centres. Their final day was particularly memorable, with the solar eclipse ending their stay.

The students are all final year students at VOSP SPSM Kromeriz, a specialist dairy college several hours from Prague. We hope this visit will be the first of many – and plans are already afoot to arrange a return visit for our students in the near future.

Kathy Merrett, Food Programme Leader

Reaseheath graduation opens doors to careers success

Graduates from Reaseheath College received degrees designed to boost their careers at a ceremony in the centre of Nantwich.

Dressed in gowns and mortar boards, almost 150 graduates spilled out of St Mary’s Church to celebrate with Britain’s best known Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson OBE, who was guest speaker.

The ceremony marked the achievement of students who had completed degrees in agricultural science, equine science, food technology, garden and landscape design, engineering, countryside management, adventure sports management and rural events management, all delivered in partnership with Harper Adams University.

Animal management and science students on degree programmes validated by the University of Chester (UoM) graduated alongside other UoM students at Chester Catherdral  in November.

Describing the Nantwich ceremony as one of the highlight of the academic year, Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David emphasised that the graduates would see a massive return on their financial and emotional investment. An independent analysis had shown that £40,000 spent on course fees and living expenses would secure an additional £250,000 over the span of a career. Nearly 90% of Reaseheath graduates who completed degrees last year were in related employment within six months of completing their course on an average starting salary of £21,000.

Degrees gained at Reaseheath College were specialist, technical qualifications which enabled students to gain both knowledge and the necessary skills and competencies to carve out a successful career.

In such a competitive jobs market it was important that higher education (HE) programmes were delivered and validated by high quality, well respected institutions. Reaseheath’s own HE programmes had recently been inspected by the Quality Assurance Agency and had received fantastic report, equivalent to an ‘Outstanding’ from Ofsted.

Reaseheath continued to invest in specialist facilities and resources which would give students the competitive edge in the jobs market. Over £40 million had been spent on facilities which were recognised as among the best in the country. A further £10 million would be invested this year into a national centre for Food Futures and Environmental Management and this would be followed by a £13 million spend on a 200 room residential building and an extension to the Higher Education Centre, both to be completed for September 2016.

Reaseheath currently had 700 students enrolled on degree courses. A significant number were mature students or were studying while working with the support of their employers. One of its most successful programmes was the Eden Project, which offers dairy technologists the chance to gain a globally recognised Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology. The qualification had been developed in close partnership with industry and was aimed at meeting demand for future managers.

Although academic progress was important, Meredydd pointed out that many graduates had helped to organise social events and charity fund raising, which last year contributed £12,000 to worthy charities.

Congratulating the graduates, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who studied politics and now has a seat in the House of Lords, said that education was vital and led to wider choices. Her key advice was to try something new and not be put off by failure. Although she had been dedicated to wheelchair racing from the age of 12 she did not win for four years and this had taught her how to train and be committed.

To find out more about our degree programmes please visit the Higher Education pages on our website.

For more photos from the day visit our Facebook page.


Reaseheath College’s dairy technologists celebrate first year success

Twenty four trainee dairy technologists reached a significant career milestone when they completed the first year of their Eden training programme at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, earlier this month.

The technologists work for leading companies in the dairy industry and attend the Eden International Dairy Academy for block release training, spending the rest of their time in their workplace. They will graduate with a globally recognised foundation degree in dairy technology on completion of their three year course. The education initiative is supported by key players in the dairy industry and is aimed at producing world-class staff. There are currently 75 trainees on the programme.

While at college, the technologists gain hands-on practical experience in Reaseheath’s industry-standard, food and dairy processing plant. The facilities enable the students to see food production from start to finish and also to carry out new product development.

Three of the first year cohort were in line for special honours as they celebrated completing their initial year of study.

Darius Barkunas, who works for Arla Foods, was selected as the Best Practical Student. The 27 year-old began working for Arla in Settle, Yorkshire, six years ago as an agency worker and has progressed to becoming a process technician. He was selected for his practical skills and for his ability to explain his practical knowledge to others.

He said: “Being offered a place on the Eden programme was like winning the lottery and I cannot thank my company enough for supporting me. Coming to Reaseheath is brilliant. The lecturers are totally dedicated to their job and the facilities are wonderful.”

Mike Reid, 29, a Dairy Crest employee, received the Best Academic Student award. for consistently achieving outstanding exam and assignment results and for his exceptional attention to detail. Mike has worked for Dairy Crest in Gloucester for 11 years and has immersed himself in the academic content of his course despite having done no serious studying since his ‘A’ levels in 2002.

He said: “Coming to college after such a long break was a big cultural challenge but everyone at Reaseheath has been extremely friendly and helpful. I am delighted that my company has chosen to support me through this qualification.”

Shaun McKenzie, 18, from Muller Dairy was voted the Dairy Culture Student of the Year after receiving the student vote for the way he supports his colleagues. The former apprentice is now a permanent staff member at Muller’s Market Drayton base and is mentored by Eden graduate Mitchell Tullett.

Presenting the awards, Adam Brazendale, Business Development Manager for the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink said: “Eden students are at the forefront of an exciting future for the UK dairy industry. This is a unique training programme aimed at supporting and developing skills within the dairy processing industry.

“The Eden programme is an excellent qualification and we are proud to have Reaseheath as our Dairy Champion for Food and Drink.”

Read more about the Eden programme here.




Reaseheath burgers get top marks for taste

Innovative burgers made by food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich have won bronze awards in the first round of the EBLEX ‘England’s Best Burger Challenge’

The recipes for the minted lamb and chilli beef burgers were designed by Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology and Management students as part of their studies in meat science. The burgers were then made by Foundation Level 1 Food Preparation and Cooking students.

EBLEX represents the beef and lamb industry in England and runs the prestigious competition biannually as part of its campaign to boost quality and innovation. The aim is to find the most succulent, tender and tasty burgers in the country.

The contest is open to any catering or butchery establishment and this year attracted record entries from throughout England. This was the first time that Reaseheath had submitted an entry.  The students had to follow strict guidelines and control measures and the burgers were tested in raw and cooked form.

Butchery lecturer Doug Ewen, who oversaw and submitted the entries, said: “This was a fantastic result for the students as there is no guarantee that you will receive any award, especially on the first attempt. It was an excellent achievement which the student can add to their CVs and which will help them as they progress into their chosen careers.”

Competition organiser Hugh Judd, EBLEX Food Service Project Manager, said: “The quality of entries this year was very high. Reaseheath students did extremely well, particularly as they were competing against entries from the whole of the burger sector.” 

Reaseheath is launching a new Level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery course, aimed at school leavers, in September. The college’s Food Centre is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe. Built to industry standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the £7.3million facilities include a butchery production area.

Find out more about our new Butchery course here.

International recognition for Reaseheath College’s Food Centre

Reaseheath College’s Food Centre has become the first and only educational institution in Britain to achieve an internationally recognised British Retail Consortium (BRC) certification.

The £7million Food Centre, which is on the Nantwich, Cheshire, college’s campus, has been awarded a Grade A BRC, the highest possible quality mark within the food industry’s global standard for food safety.

The unique certification was approved after a robust two day audit showed that the department’s food manufacturing systems were operating under highly controlled conditions and to the highest industry standards. Areas inspected included hygiene procedures, cleanliness of the facility, food safety controls, quality systems and the traceability of food ingredients.

The accolade is particularly prestigious as many food businesses strive, but never achieve, the elusive BRC standard at Grade A. The successful bid was led by Reaseheath Technical Manager Katharina Vogt.

Food Centre Head Toni-Anne Harrison said: “This was a tremendous achievement, gained through hard work and dedication and by an understanding of how these procedures and practices underpin everything that we do in the Food Centre.

“I am extremely proud to head up such a fantastic team, where individuals from both the commercial and educational worlds work so tirelessly together to move the department forwards.

Our students are now fully immersed in industry standards and practices, and understand the value that is placed on ensuring these standards are both maintained and continuously moved forwards.

“This certification will lead to increased exposure to  blue chip companies, many of which are already clients and partners, and this will create enormous opportunities for our students. It will also further strengthen Reaseheath College’s reputation for being at the forefront of teaching and learning within the food sector.”

Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David added : “This has been a tremendous achievement, as only the very best companies achieve BRC Grade A status. This certification proves that our Food Centre has a deep understanding of the industry it serves. It will bring the department tremendous credence and will heighten our standing within the food industry.”

Reaseheath’s Food Centre was opened in 2011 and is one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

Built to the exacting standards required by industry and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists, the facilities include dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery and confectionery. Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the bespoke food halls for new product development or staff training.

For further details see or contact (training enquiries) Julie Bent E: or (commercial enquiries) Katherine Tunnicliffe E:

Tesco team gets a training taster at Reaseheath Food Centre

A technical and development team from Tesco’s dairy category received a practical overview of  production processes during a bespoke training event at Reaseheath College’s Food Centre.

The team of five, from Tesco’s head office in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, spent two days at Reaseheath’s Nantwich, Cheshire, campus. As well as receiving theory and hands-on training in the college’s industry standard food processing halls, the employees took the opportunity to hold a team building event in the food department’s dedicated conference facilities.

The team, made up of Category Technical Manager for Dairy Claire Lindsay, Product Development Manager Amanda Sankey, Cheese Technologist Anne-Sophie Stutzinger,  graduate Food Technologist Thea Lawson and Technical Administrator Sue Featley, work closely with suppliers to develop products and check food standards.

The training event allowed the team to gain knowledge and develop practical production skills and culminated in them manufacturing a batch of yoghurt.

Senior Dairy Technologist Derek Allen demonstrates yoghurt manufacture on Reaseheath’s flexible process plant to Tesco’s technical and development team

Senior Dairy Technologist Derek Allen demonstrates yoghurt manufacture on Reaseheath’s flexible process plant to Tesco’s technical and development team

Said Claire: “Reaseheath has a great deal to offer, particularly on the production side. The ‘hands-on’ training has been very useful for us because we have been able to see the whole process through. This has allowed us to appreciate the bigger picture and will enable us to work more closely with our suppliers and help us solve issues together.”

Reaseheath’s Business Development Manager Katherine Tunnicliffe explained: “This has been a great chance for us to show Tesco how we can help train their own staff and how this can be rolled out to benefit their supply base.”

Reaseheath runs specialised and bespoke training days for blue chip companies including Kraft Foods,  Tetra Pak and Arla Foods. Prospective commercial clients are welcome to make a site visit.

For further details of facilities and training opportunities see or contact Katherine Tunnicliffe on 01270 613175; E:


Reaseheath food students impress with tasty meals for children

Food technology students from Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire, have impressed industry experts by developing a range of tasty and healthy children’s meals for the supermarket shelf.

Eleven students in the final year of their Foundation Degree in Food Industry with Management were tasked with developing chilled ready meals suitable for a new Tesco range.

The students had to follow a complex brief following strict retail industry standards which included carrying out research into nutrition, portion sizes, costing and package design. They then prepared their dish and delivered a product presentation before a panel of food industry experts.

The judging panel was headed by Tesco Product Development Manager Stephanie Bacon and included new product development specialists from the Greencore Group, which produces and supplies ready meals for the retailer.

Dishes which particularly caught the eye of the judges included a chicken dinner made by Dina Silva, a sausage and baked bean casserole produced by Alex Mangnall and a sweet chicken curry from Nazreen Dwada.

Said Stephanie Bacon: “It has been very interesting to touch base with the young talent coming into the industry.  Tesco has always been keen to give something back by helping to guide and advise the next generation of food technologists. We are also constantly developing our own food ranges and are particularly interested in innovative dishes for children which are high in nutrition but low in the less desirable ingredients such as fat and salt.

“We were very impressed by the thought and effort which the students had put into this project. The overall standard of the products was excellent and every student brought a meal into the room which was healthy and flavourful.”

The students researched and prepared their products in the industry standard food halls which are part of Reaseheath’s £7 million Food Centre, one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe.

The project was organised by Lecturer in New Product Design Jayne Storer, working in conjunction with Tesco and Greencore. She explained: “This was a true test of the students’ initiative because it was the first time they had worked to a live brief. It was extremely industry focused and realistic, replicating exactly what they will need to do in their future careers.”

Said Alex Mangnall, 19: “This was a really interesting project which gave us a real life experience of the food industry and will be really useful for our CVs.”