Linton Village College drops in…

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Monday 30th January was not any ordinary day at school for a number of Year 9 Linton Village College pupils. They spent an informative morning visiting Dalehead Foods in Linton for a factory tour and two interactive sessions.

Dalehead Foods has been based in Linton for over 40 years and has been dedicated in the supply of quality pork, bacon, sausage, cooked meats and lamb products to premium retailer Waitrose for over 30 years.

As an active member of Business in the Community (BITC), a business led charity focussed on promoting responsible business practice, Dalehead Foods is working with Linton Village College to support its food technology curriculum and enhance the learning of young people in the local community.  Part of BITC is the initiative ‘Business Class’ designed to bring business expertise to secondary schools. Dalehead Foods is one of only three local businesses which have formed the first Cambridgeshire cluster, along with Ridgeons and Cambridge University Press.

The partnership of Dalehead Foods and Linton Village College started back in October last year when the entire group of year 9 pupils were introduced to the Dalehead Foods business, its operation and role in the supply chain in which it operates. In addition to this and weaving into the Food Technology curriculum, pupils took part in an interactive session to help them understand the process of taking a new product idea from concept to launch. Following this a project brief was set which asked the pupils to come up with an Olympic themed recipe using Dalehead sausagemeat.

A few weeks later, Dalehead returned to the College as judges to assess the outstanding work of the 13 and 14 year olds. Olympic themed product ideas along with packaging designs, costings and of course the ultimate taste test were all judged to be of an extremely high standard and amongst many favourites the eventual winner was the ‘Power Meatballs’. The winning team was presented with the Dalehead Foods Enterprise Award 2011 by Seamus Rooney, Dalehead Foods Managing Director and Kirsty Wilkins, Tulip Ltd HR Director.

With such an enthusiastic approach to the product brief and judging session, 30 students were invited to visit the Linton site of Dalehead Foods on Monday 30th January. It would be a chance to see the factory in full motion and taste the Power Meatballs which had been scaled up to factory production.

The pupils started their morning by learning about the unique partnership Dalehead has with Waitrose, from the rearing of outdoor bred British pork to the production of over 400 products for the premium retailer. They participated in various activities which included a factory tour, sausage and bacon making workshop and a lesson in understanding where different cuts of pork, sausage, bacon and hams come from.

A team of approximately ten Dalehead employees worked with the students throughout the morning, answering questions and demonstrating their knowledge and skills on the industry. Having learnt about the dedicated supply chain in which Dalehead has operated for many years and to commemorate the visit, Waitrose Newmarket Department Manager Retail, Helen Hughes joined the visit and also took part in the activities. Helen presented Linton Village College Food Technology teacher Rebecca Landshoff with a Waitrose Cookery School book which has been donated to the department by Dalehead Foods.

Joanne Collins, Dalehead Foods Divisional HR Manager said “The visit has been extremely worthwhile and rewarding for all those involved, from the college pupils and teachers to the Dalehead employees and has strengthened the partnership of Dalehead Foods and Linton Village College. We look forward to working closely with Linton Village College and other schools in the local area as part of our commitment to the local community and the BITC Business Class initiative.

 Haverhill Echo February 2012