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  • Writer's pictureHaulwen Nicholas

2018 the Year for Education

2018 is going to be the year for education and training for the packaging industry and I think we all agree it is needed.

Blue Planet II highlighted the issues of waste in the sea, however we all know that this is a wider issue than plastic. Plastic is the visible enemy due to it floating to on the surface and this is why we as an industry need to be cautious in providing "Knee Jerk" reactions. We do not want to cause more environmental issues and know that glass, metal and paper based products are being dumped too. Education is needed.

We all know the biggest problem is how do we get people within our own country and countries around the world to look at all packaging waste for what it really is. A valuable resource that has completed an amazing journey to contain, protect, preserve, ship, inform, sell a product. We know what the benefits are of packaging but we have to get our own house in order first. That is where training and education comes in. We need to ensure we have the skills within each of our businesses to fully evaluate the pro's and con's of each material. To ensure we are thinking of end of life right at the design phase. We need to ensure we are giving our people the skills to do this.

In 2018 we are already seeing a number of initiatives coming to life. These are things that many of us in the industry have been working on, in the background and it is wonderful to start seeing the fruits of our labours.

We've listened to the industry needs and we have inputted as an industry into the development of these courses to give us the knowledge of the future.

University of Newcastle

In May 2018 we will see the first of three CPD courses being launched by the University of Newcastle. The programme is aimed at industry professionals in the food and drink packaging supply chain and will address sustainability, security and supply chain integrity and provide information on current and future issues and insight into potential solutions. Their teaching, is delivered by a mix of academic and industry professionals with extensive practical experience tackling areas of practical and current relevance. Case studies are used to illustrate practical solutions to current issues.

The accumulated academic credit for these CPD's will enable students to obtain a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Packaging and ultimately a full Masters degree in Packaging. It is expected that additional pathways will be developed to enable students to develop a focus in other areas such as pharmaceutical, personal care or non-food packaging.

The first workshop and associated module (Current Issues in Food Safety, Security and Packaging) will take place from 1st to 3rd May 2018 at the Core Building, University of Newcastle. The Food Packaging Interactions workshop will run from 17th to 19th July at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus, Sand Hutton, York. The workshop and module in Food Packaging and Sustainability will take place at Newcastle University during October 2018.

Please read the full proposal on our courses page.

Please contact to register for these courses.

University of Chester

The PGCert in Advances in Food & Beverage Packaging was launched back in 2016 and the first cohort graduated in 2017. Due to some changes in personnel at the University they were unable to run it in 2017/2018 but they are currently working to relaunch the course. The timings for this launch is to be confirmed.

Please read the full proposal on the courses page.

For further details of the development and the course please contact the Department of Clinical Sciences at the University of Chester. or Professor Saphwan Al- Assaf (

The Retail Institute - Leeds Beckett University

The Retail Institute, at Leeds Beckett University, are currently in the process of developing a new Degree Apprenticeship programme that will be aimed at meeting the specific skills and knowledge requirements of the packaging industry. Leeds Beckett University already offers a Chartered Manager degree apprenticeship that is designed for organisations paying the apprenticeship levy to develop skills that match their higher level skills needs.

This programme is highly flexible and could be tailored to meet the standards needed for a Packaging Professional degree. Alternatively, a completely new programme could be set up by bringing together Leeds Beckett’s expertise in areas such as Engineering, Design, Creative Technologies, Business Strategy, Supply Chain Management, Marketing and Materials Science.

This knowledge, combined with The Retail Institute’s unique knowledge on packaging innovation, sensory marketing, consumer behaviour and retail trends, makes Leeds Beckett University very strongly placed to provide this much needed qualification for the UK packaging industry.

Please read the full proposal on our courses page.

For Further details please contact

The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink

To meet the ever increasing demand for excellence in Packaging, the need for highly skilled Packaging Professionals has never been higher.

In the UK today, limited professional training and University programmes are available to close the gap.

Recognising the need is one thing, but action is needed now!

Leveraging the opportunity of the UK apprenticeship levy, a group of passionate industry professionals covering a broad cross section of the industry and academia have joined together to form a Trailblazer Apprenticeship Development Group.

Facilitated by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, a new Packaging Professional Degree Apprenticeship Standard has been built with the ambition to start the new programme as early as 2019, provided there is sufficient demand.

The future success of the apprenticeship programme depends upon industry’s desire to develop the Packaging Professionals of the future. Bruce Funnell who is leading this will be sharing more with Packaging News in the near future.

To express interest and to find out more, contact secretariat

In addition to the packaging initiatives The NSA are working to support an apprenticeship development group, in their creation of a proposal to develop a Level 7 apprenticeship for Sustainable Business Specialists.   As you will see from the attached draft standard, this is not a Food & Drink centric standard, but, once the Proposal is approved, will be developed as a standard suitable for many sectors - Retail, Manufacturing, Technology, Energy and Service industries - and for businesses of all sizes.  Although they predominately have interest from the Food & Drink they would like to know if there is any additional interest outside of the Food &Drink sector.

If you think this proposed development is relevant to your organisation, they are hoping that you will be able to support the proposal for this apprenticeship.  All letters of support need to be provided by cop 27th February, in order for them to meet the submission deadline for the IfA. please request the template from

Now all we need is for as many people to sign up for these courses as possible. The industry has requested education, we are now providing education. So share to everyone you know the courses that are coming up so that we can get as many applicants as possible.

Other Education

Education is not just about training courses it can also be delivered in other formats too which is why I'm pleased to also mention the wonderful work being done at the;

Museum of Brands,Packaging and Advertising.

Opening Thursday 22nd February 2018, the Museum of Brands open a new display, Pack the Future, focusing on the topic of sustainable packaging. The items in this display are examples of new innovations by brands and packaging technologists aiming to limit packaging’s burden on the environment. With more information on the complex issues surrounding sustainability and packaging, we aim to open the debate on how to ‘Pack the Future’. I'd highly recommend that if you're in London you have a look, opportunities for learning and education are all around us. For more information Website Link:,-opens-21-february.html

In Other News

You may have noticed that this newsletter is posted on a new website. I'm pleased to announce that I am working in collaboration with Sanjay Patel and David Harding-Brown on a new initiative the Packaging Collective. Packaging Education will continue to be led by myself under the overarching umbrella of the Packaging Collective.

If you want to know more please go to the home page and click on the link to join the Packaging Collective for free.

Sanjay and David will be at Packaging Innovations on 28th February & 1st March 2018 on stand 39 and would love to talk to you in more detail about our proposals for this exciting new venture. (I'm away on holiday so won't see you at this event).

I am also looking to put together a formal board and structure for packaging education, with a meeting a couple of times a year to ensure we are all talking as one in the industry. I will send out more details in the coming months but this board will help pull together the overall education needs for the sector, approve industry lectures to ensure they are up today and relevant, and discuss how to engage the next generation.

Finally, there is the 4th European Conference on the Future of Business Education in Packaging and takes place Thursday 15 March 2018 at the Mercure Convention Centre at international airport Charles de Gaulle Paris.

The conference addresses the difficulties in keeping the skills, knowledge and know-how of the workforce in the packaging business (both suppliers and users of packaging) available and up-to-date. Topics of interest are the ageing of the workforce and the transition from a ‘job for life’ in fixed labour contracts to ‘work for life’ via continuously supported employability. I will be attending. Registration details are below:

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