The Eden International Dairy Academy opened this week at Reaseheath College in Cheshire, the UK, following a £2.7m (€3.26m) investment from industry and government.
The new training centre will offer a Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology that is designed to equip students with the theory and hands-on experience necessary to take up technical roles at dairy processing firms.
Industry worked with Reaseheath College and the National Skills Academy to fund and establish the Eden International Dairy Academy.
The ultimate goal of the project was to bring industry together to solve a skills shortage in the UK dairy processing industry.
Jens Termansen, Arla executive and chairman of the Eden Steering Group said: “This all came about because the dairy industry in the UK was facing serious skills shortages in some critical areas, such as dairy technologists.”
There are currently 27 students currently enrolled in the first year of teaching. Over the three years of the degree program they will study dairy theory, science and practical skills.
One of the highlights of the new course is the opportunity it gives to use the latest dairy processing equipment. Jim Begg, director general of the trade body Dairy UK, said “We can now boast one of the best equipped training dairies in the world.”
A number of leading dairy companies and bodies lent their support to Project Eden including the Society of Dairy Technology, Arla Foods UK, Dairy Crest, First Milk, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Milk Link and Muller Dairy.
A spokesperson for Dairy UK said it is hoped that the cooperation between the dairies will be repeated and that the companies can meet regularly in the future to identify areas where they can work together for mutual benefit.
Termansen echoed this point, adding: “This fabulous new Eden Academy is just the start, and we will keep working together to achieve our goals.”