Niall’s ‘plan’ for success in food
January 20, 2022
Niall Callan first enrolled at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in 2014. After completing GCSEs at Sperrin Integrated College, Magherafelt, Niall studied for a Level 3 National Diploma in Food Technology. On completion of the two year programme he progressed on to the BSc (Hons) Degree in Food Technology at Loughry Campus, graduating in June 2020.
“During my studies I decided to maximise my opportunities to gain practical food industry skills. I always heard employers look for real-world experience so I worked at Dunbia Dungannon on a part-time basis. Both of my courses at CAFRE involved work experience which I completed with Dunbia, Cloughbane Farm Foods and Rainbow Foods. My placements allowed me to develop industry focused practical understanding within production-based roles,” commented Niall.
On completion of his Ulster University validated Food Technology Degree programme Niall gained employment with Linden Foods. As part of their Graduate Scheme he spent time in both the Planning and Technical departments. In June 2021 Niall moved into the role of Production Planner at the Dungannon site.
“My work as a Planner involves scheduling production activities for both Hilton Foods UK and Hilton Foods Ireland accounts, who supply Tesco Stores across the UK and Ireland. My job involves prioritising and planning operations to maximise performance through managing and forecasting production requirements. I also have responsibility for the Metro Food Service account which supplies meat products into Italy and Portugal,” explained Niall.
“I really benefitted from the hands-on experience I established through my CAFRE courses. The Food Technology Centre allowed us to complete practical based work using the pilot scale equipment on campus. I developed an understanding of food technology and processing which helped me follow through a ‘right first time’ attitude; essential in fast paced food manufacturing environments,” added Niall.
“I decided to study further through CAFRE and enrolled on the part-time Master’s in Business for Agri-food and Rural Enterprise course. The programme is offered in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast. It gives me the opportunity to network and learn from others with an interest in the agri-food sector. I am further developing my organisational and communication skills through participating in the course,” commented Niall.
“If I had to sum up my six years that I spent studying on food courses at Loughry Campus I would say it was enjoyable, memorable and packed full of real world learning. Choosing to study at CAFRE was the right choice for me,” concluded Niall.
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