Athlone Institute of Technology has developed the midlands’ first Food Technology And Business Degree to meet demand for graduates in the multidisciplinary area ofAgriLand food processing and manufacturing, a rapid growth sector with more jobs than graduates to fill them, according to the college.

Combining food science and technology, the new four-year programme will prepare graduates for largescale production environments, such as the type found in Panelto Foods in Co. Longford or Carroll’s Cuisine in Tullamore, two of the largest employers in the region.

“The scale of food production in places like Panelto is enormous – they manufacture 35,000 loaves of bread per hour. Similarly, Carroll’s Cuisine supplies ham to some of Ireland’s largest supermarkets – Lidl, Aldi and Dunnes. These are the companies our graduates will segway into; the industry is crying out for them.”

Dr. Anthony Johnston, head of department of business and hospitality at Athlone Institute of Technology, said that nationally, food processing and manufacturing employs 42,000 people with Ireland’s wider agri-food sector pulling in an annual turnover in excess of €26 billion

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