A unique opportunity for students to interact at the highest levels of the UK Food Sector

The City Food Lecture hosts a visit for a number of students and staff members (all in food-related studies) from a selection of universities.

The main objective is to encourage current students to take up future employment in the food industry. Many students in food-related studies end up in other areas of work and we want to show the fantastic employment opportunities in the sector, the growing importance of the food industry as well giving them a glimpse of the excitement of working in food and agri-business.

Looking ahead to City Food Lecture 2021

We have some exciting virtual plans in place for our student programme. Working in association with the NFU, our invited students from 10 universities across the UK will engage with sector chiefs led by Philip Hambling to explore a diverse number of topics from animal health and welfare, combinable crops to livestock and sustainability.

We provide an account below of the Future Generation Student Forum activities around the 2020 lecture:

The Visit of 45 Students to the London City Food Lecture – 2020

An unpublicised part of the recent City Food Lecture (CFL) is the invitation given to   university students to attend. Altogether 45 students and staff members from 10 universities attended this year’s CFL in London’s Guildhall in late February – from Kent University Business School, Reading University, City University, Royal Agricultural University Cirencester, Harper Adams University, London South Bank University, Newcastle University, Writtle University College, Oxford University, SOAS London and IFSTAL, an organisation which brings together postgraduate students from various British Universities in food systems studies and research. All those participating are taking degrees in food-related studies.

A major objective of the visit is to motivate them on the excitement of future careers in food industry. 

The Schedule

Prior to arriving in the Guildhall, the students arrived in London and were divided into three groups – each group going to one of three contrasting restaurant/food service outlets to learn directly from the key staff involved about the respective challenges. The three venues were 1) the Clink Restaurant inside Brixton prison, 2) the Ned, a 5

star hotel in the heart of the city which has a series of 8 restaurants and 3) a McDonald’s restaurant and regional training centre in Leytonstone, where the group experienced the ‘Big Mac Challenge’. When the groups arrived back at the Guildhall they reported back on the challenges encountered by the respective managers and staff.

Interaction with the Panel

A highly-rated part of the programme for most of the students is an interactive hour with the three panellists taking part in the CFL evening event –  prominent personalities, who have made very different career paths in the industry: Ian Wright, Chief Executive of the Food and Drink Federation, Andy Thompson, Regional Director of Genus plc and Baroness Rosie Boycott, a Cross-bench peer in the House of Lords specialising on food policy. Following this, the highlight for many was the chance to talk with, and hear from, the evening’s lecturer, Professor Louise Fresco, President of Wageningen University in a 25-minute session that clearly made a big impression on those present.

Attending the Lecture and networking

The students then attended the evening lecture and panel session together with the other 700 invited guests, who represented a wide section of those from UK food and agri-business as well as the large number of liverymen and guests from the seven food-related livery companies. They witnessed a lecture and panel session which was generally regarded as one of the outstanding City Food Lectures to date. After this, they were able to join the assembled company in a buffet supper with several of them having a chance to meet up with HRH the Princess Royal.

Student feedback

The students are invited to complete a questionnaire on their experience of the CFL student visit. Their responses can best be summed up by a selection of the answers given to the question ‘How did you find the experience of the whole day overall?’: 

‘still feeding back messages learnt on the day’, ‘showed excitement of working in the food industry’, ‘felt honoured’, ’lucky to be there’, ‘great opportunity’, ‘motivating’ ,  , ‘fantastic opportunity’, ‘inspirational’, ’still buzzing from the inspiration & conversations’.

Together with their staff members they are exceptionally grateful to the seven Livery Companies for inviting them to this memorable event!

Our sponsor

Many thanks to MorePeople, the recruitment specialists focusing on fresh produce, food agriculture and horticulture, who sponsored the student visit and contributed greatly to the organisation.       

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