Kerry Group will provide resources for two students to complete the work-based post-graduate qualification programme
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Pictured at the announcement are the head of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at UCC were Prof Mairead Kiely, Mary Buckley and Pat Murphy of Kerry Group, interim president at UCC Prof John O’Halloran, Food Institute director Jim Corbett and academic programme director Dr Seamus O’Mahony. \ Tomas Tyner

Kerry Group will support two students of University College Cork’s (UCC) two-year master’s degree in dairy process technology, the company announced earlier this month.

The two post-graduate students will be employed by Kerry Group over the course of their specialist studies from the beginning of the programme in September of this year. The students will based in one of the company’s three Irish milk processing plants and will work extensively with Kerry Group to develop the skills important to dairy processors.

A consultation process between industry stakeholders and UCC has concluded that the supply of graduates equipped with dairy processing-specific knowledge and skills would be greatly beneficial to the sector.

The newly-announced masters programme aims to develop these skills and increase the supply of specialist graduates for the industry.

Leadership

“Ireland needs to develop a leadership position in dairy production and processing sustainability and the dairy sector needs high quality graduates if it is to continue to thrive,” said the academic director of the programme Dr Seamus O’Mahony.

“The new master’s programme in dairy process technology is one of a range of new initiatives designed to create greater access to life-long, and life-wide, learning opportunities for recent graduates and company employees in the dairy sector,” he added.

UCC’s dairy history

UCC has long had an interest in developing programmes with an agri food focus. Dairy science work in the institution dates back to 1926 and in recent years, the university has shown its commitment to agriculture through the launch of its agricultural science. The areas of food and nutrition are of great academic importance to the university, explained the head of the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at UCC, Professor Mairéad Kiely.

“The recent appointment of new teaching and research staff to the dairy team at UCC underlines the university’s commitment to the single biggest sector of our agri-food industry, in helping it to meet its obligations set out in the recently published draft Agri-Food Strategy 2030,” she said.

Last month, 14 of our dairy farms in Maine, as well as dozens of dairy farms across northern New England, got an unexpected and disappointing notice from Danone of North America saying that they were discontinuing their contracts with our organic dairy farmers in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and elsewhere.

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