Our annual Student LaunchPad event supports food science students by providing them with an experience to strengthen their perceptions of the food sector beyond the university setting and help provide valuable insights into possible careers in all aspects of the food chain.
The first Student LaunchPad was held in 2011 at the premises of Campden BRI who worked closely with IFST to develop the event. Following its success, another LaunchPad was hosted by Leatherhead Food Research in 2012. In 2014, we held our first LaunchPad in the north of England kindly hosted by Fera and in 2015 in Northern Ireland courtesy of AFBI.
The Student LaunchPads take place every year in October - November.
These events are provided free of charge by IFST with the support of industry leaders.
What to expect
A LaunchPad day typically begins with presentations from those working within the food and drink industry. These are designed to provide students with advice and help provide valuable insights into possible career paths in all aspects of the food chain. Students can then ask questions in an open discussion that follows.
A key feature of the LaunchPads are the lunchtime speed mentoring sessions where students can move from table-to-table, each hosted by an industry mentor to discuss for example one of the following subjects:
- Working for a large organisation
- Working for a small organisation
- Working in food regulation
- Food science and technology in retail
- Employer expectations of graduates
- Career opportunities
Students also get an opportunity to tour the facilities of the host venue towards the end of the session.
Past industry mentors have included leading independent consultants and senior representatives from organisations such as Heinz, PepsiCo, the Food Standards Agency, the Food and Drink Federation, Sainsbury's, Barfoots of Botley, Compass, MorePeople, Innocent, Waitrose, AB Sugar, Allied Technical Centre and Leatherhead Food Research.
What students say
‘Thank you so much for a truly fantastic day. Not only was it incredibly informative but also a great event to enable a real sense of excitement regarding a career in food to be future explored. Thank you!’
‘Very useful event! Could be used for both 2nd year students seeking placement and also final year students seeking full time employment.’
'I had a fantastic day and came away enthused and enlightened. This is the first event I have been to and I will without a doubt return.'
'The presentations were excellent and gave a varied range of information. I came away feeling very well informed, and quite excited about the food industry - it reinforced that I’m making the right move and going in the right direction.'