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Arla Foods to address A4E on skills investment

03 April 2012

In a presentation entitled 'Keeping Your Dairy Lean by Skills Investment', Christopher Edwards, technical competence development manager of Arla Foods, will address Appetite for Engineering at the Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire on 12 June

''As our sites have become more automated with lean practises and higher volumes with increased demands on quality we have had to recognise our skills gap and take ownership of this issue instead of relying on others, colleges and schools, to produce the technically qualified individuals we need to grow our business,'' says Chris. ''This includes Deep Skills in dairy Technology, Food Engineering and laterally in Supply Chain and Logistics.

''This has needed widespread soul searching, project planning and budget commitment,'' he continues. ''The development of unique programmes with a shared vision across some of the most competitive dairies in the UK. We call this Collaboration Project Eden and its result is the House of Eden. In addition we, the Dairy Industry have had to grow and develop the curriculum, the facility – some £7.5million investment and the culture of the principal training provider.''

With more than 25 years working in the dairy food and agricultural sector, Chris Edwards OBE, TD has an in-depth understanding of the challenges facing the dairy supply chain from primary production through to retail supply. During his career, the dairy farmer's son has played a lead role in land based education and training, rural business and regional development, with particular emphasis on the dairy sector.

This breadth of experience has been instrumental in his determination to promote best practice and the sustainable future for dairy processing in the UK through Skills development. In his previous employment positions, Chris has worked as a food supermarket manager, product development technologist, an operations manager with Milk Marque, Warehouse Operations manager and he has lecturered in Food and Dairy Technology for 15 years in addition to managing the product development halls at Reaseheath College.

He believes the dairy industry must continually be in a position to change and adapt in response to market demands by keeping abreast of the ever changing factors within global dairy sector. In his spare time Chris is a member of the Territorial Army, has completed service in Bosnia and Kososvo, has commanded a Regiment of Signals and continues to play an active part in the Reserve component as Deputy Commander 2 Signal Brigade.

He lives in South Cheshire and is married to Tracey. They have three children.

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