This year’s winning employee is Stephanie Nish, who joined the company three years ago to embark on the Eden Dairy Technology foundation degree course. Previously, Stephanie worked for Marks and Spencer Plc for 11 years as visual project coordinator.
It was during this time that Nish’s husband, Lee, was selected for the Eden Course and Stephanie supported him with his learning, especially during exams. Stephanie said, “Lee was the reason I applied for the Eden program after seeing how he excelled on Eden himself and seeing the many opportunities it brings throughout the course and afterwards. Dairy technology is a subject I found so interesting that I quickly realized that I admired what he was doing and aspired to follow in his footsteps.”
Nish’s project looked at utilizing new technology from Chr. Hansen to determine the optimum firmness of cheese curd at cut to increase fat retention within the cheese, thereby increasing yield.
Richard Collins, senior site director at Lockerbie Creamery, said, “At Arla Foods Lockerbie we take great pride in the success of our students and this year Stephanie has been an excellent example of the value programs such as Eden can add to the students and the manufacturing sites. Stephanie has been breath of fresh air putting the skill and knowledge she has learned during her time on Eden into practice, with enthusiasm and determination to succeed.
“Through utilizing new technologies, completing trials and analyzing results, Stephanie has delivered a significant step change in fat retention and therefore increased daily cheese yields. Not only has Stephanie proactively enabled her own development, she has also completed work that can be shared across many cheese process applications and has delivered a significant financial saving for the business.”
Nish’s project, along with the others from Eden Cohort 10, were judged during online presentations over two days, organized by Mike Bennett, processing hall manager from Reaseheath College. More than 50 people, from the companies that support the Eden course, viewed the presentations and a team of four SDT judges scored the projects based on a range of criteria, including scientific explanation, technical complexity and value to the employer/dairy industry.
The team agreed Nish was the award winner, closely followed by Sharlene Harrison (Muller Dairies) and Mark White (Saputo Davidstow), who were both awarded runner-up awards. The awards will be presented at the SDT annual dinner on the evening before the International Cheese and Dairy Awards at Staffordshire County Showground.