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Mars inspires the next generation of engineers

11 November 2014

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Mars Chocolate's Slough factory opened its doors to 19 female students from St Bernards, St Joseph's Catholic, Langley Grammar and Slough & Eton schools yesterday as part of a new programme with youth skills initiative MyKindaCrowd.

The programme aims to promote careers in food and drink engineering and give students a first-hand taste of the food and drink industry - the UK's largest manufacturing sector.

Mars UK signed up to work with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and MyKindaCrowd to deliver an exclusive site visit with practical challenges, a factory tour and a prize-winning competition for female Year 12 and 13 students taking A-Level STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

Students were given the opportunity to examine chocolate products in a real-life quality panel, and took part in a challenge set by Mars' engineers to design and present a new GALAXY® chocolate production line.

Angela Colesill, Director of Employment & Skills at FDF, said: “The skills agenda is a top priority for our industry and we are proud that our members continue to support careers initiatives such as the MyKindaCrowd engineering visits to ensure a solid succession plan for employment in our sector.

“At the heart of this collaboration is the aim to raise awareness for the industry-backed MEng Food Engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University as well as FDF's Women into STEM pledge as part of the YourLife campaign, which encourages women to pursue science or engineering careers in food and drink.

“Students took away an understanding of how they can use their STEM subjects towards an exciting career in food and drink manufacturing and give students the chance to network with employees at Mars.”

Fiona Dawson, President of Mars Chocolate UK & Global Retail, said: “From making our first MARS® bar to producing innovations like MALTESERS® TEASERS®, engineering excellence has been a vital part of Mars' success in over 80 years in Slough.

“We are thrilled to be able to challenge and inspire local young women studying STEM subjects, bringing theory to life and showing them the people, expertise and care required to make our products. Mars needs bright young minds like theirs to be our next generation of talent and we hope to have inspired them by demonstrating what a career in the food industry really looks like”.

Fiona MacTaggart, Slough MP said: "This is a great opportunity for young women to learn about the careers that are available in the food industry and how STEM skills can be used in the world of work. Britain needs more women in engineering and related fields if we are to remain leaders in manufacturing and innovation but all too often young women don't know about the interesting STEM related careers out there. Well done Mars!"

Ellen Culkeen, Slough & Eton Business and Enterprise College said: “As a school we value the opportunities that industry is offering to young people. The girls will get a great insight into opportunities within Mars that they'll be able to share with other students at Slough and Eton.

"The partnership is a great way to encourage female students to consider a career in engineering, and also for local industry to recruit future employees."

The MyKindaCrowd programme is an exceptional opportunity for young students to get the inside track of engineering within food and drink and even the chance to 'win a work experience prize' at each of the challenge days. In turn, the FDF member companies will help the students to develop work skills and will benefit by establishing links with talented future recruits that offer fresh ideas and solutions.

Photography available on Flickr

Notes for editors

  1. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector. For more information about FDF and the industry we represent visit:
  2. MyKindaCrowd has embarked on a global mission: to connect young people with the world of work and enhance their future employability. Companies set challenges; young people respond with ideas; and get rewarded with work experience.   
  3. Mars is a private, family-owned company with more than 75,000 Associates (employees) in 74 countries who are guided and united by our Five Principles - Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom. Our global business has six segments; Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience and Mars owns many best-loved brands including PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, MARS®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and UNCLE BEN'S®.
  4. The MEng Food Engineering course at Sheffield Hallam University has been developed by Graduate Excellence , a partnership between the Food and Drink Federation, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink and Sheffield Hallam University
  5. Your Life Stem pledge - In May 2014, the government set out national ambitions for greater participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) especially amongst women. FDF and our members support the new campaign called 'Your Life' by creating our own pledge to attract women into STEM careers in our industry

About MyKindaCrowd

  • MyKindaCrowd was established in 2011 to transform the way young people connect with the world of work. The social enterprise company works with 4500 schools and over 90% of universities in the UK, providing online industry 'Challenges', physical workshops, work-experiences, and jobs completely free.
  • Companies set real-life online industry challenges, supported by face-to-face workshops attended by company employees. Students show-case their skills and respond to the challenges. Good responses get rewarded with work-experiences.
  • MyKindaCrowd has set up and ran challenges for entrepreneurs, government organisations, charities and some of the UK's leading brands which have led to thousands of industry work experiences for students with companies including BT, Cisco, Lloyds, Accenture, KPMG, Tesco, NCS and many more.
  • It has won the UK's most prestigious Social Enterprise awards for connecting with diverse groups of young people.

For More information, please contact:

Fleur Williamson on 020 7420 7120

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