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Industry

Students advocate for packaging degree

Sheffield Hallam University has highlighted the importance of its BSc Packaging Professional degree

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Students at Sheffield Hallam University have talked about their experiences in studying the UK’s only dedicated packaging degree

With an increasing importance put on encouraging young talent into print, many businesses and educators have used packaging as a way to engage young people in the creativity and science of the industry. 

Sheffield Hallam University is currently running the only higher-level degree apprenticeship dedicated to the packaging industry.

Peter Macqueen, principal lecturer for Apprenticeships at Sheffield Hallam University, says: “The right education can make all the difference, especially in an industry as fast-moving and dynamic as printed packaging.” 

Speaking about Sheffield’s course, Macqueen refers to the US and Germany as “powerhouses” who have dedicated programmes to packaging to help the next generation, which in turn is leaving the UK “lagging behind”.

The university has encouraged businesses of every size and category to enrol packaging professionals of the future in order to provide in-depth knowledge and “up-to-the-minute” learning.

Sheffield Hallam University has over 32,000 students and is one of the UK’s largest universities with an increased number of students from underrepresented backgrounds than other UK universities.

Peter Macqueen, principal lecturer - 
Apprenticeships, Sheffield Hallam University

Danielle Keep, a packaging technology apprentice at Premier Foods in Ashford says that Sheffield’s packaging course has allowed her to combine her passion for design and technology with practical industry experience.

Keep says: “My knowledge of the sector is constantly growing. As part of my apprenticeship, I am learning to take on a role of looking after any issues with current packaging, making improvements, and trialling new ideas. Specifically, I work mostly with the artwork approval process, raising disposals, and processing complaints and rejections of faulty packaging stock.”

Sam Wood, who was enrolled in the course by Far’N’Beyond, a creative design, print, and digital agency has found the course particularly impactful as he had never studied at university level before.

Wood comments: “In one of my modules, we were tasked with deconstructing packaging, where we used machinery in the labs at Sheffield Hallam to experiment with drop and compression tests. I have also learned about self-reflection in the workplace and how to produce a business case plan. This has given me an in-depth understanding of Far’n’Beyond’s overarching business activities as well as stakeholder management.”

Sheffield Hallam University highlights the fact that many companies can leverage the Apprenticeship Levy to ensure cost-effective training and development helping individuals with career growth and broader industry advancements.

Macqueen concludes: “By building our course around the very real needs of the UK packaging industry, our Packaging Professional degree apprenticeship programme is not just educating future packaging professionals; it’s shaping the future of the entire sector.”

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