UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

Award winning UCR graduate boosts employer’s business by £millions

A degree level apprentice whose research project enabled his employer to generate an estimated £5 million in additional revenue received a special award on graduating from University Centre Reaseheath (UCR) in Nantwich.

UCR Acting Dean Sarah Hopkinson, Mike Bennett, Aaron Morgan, coach Robbie Goodridge, Lisa Eden-Rump

Aaron Morgan, who completed a Foundation Degree in Dairy Technology while studying on UCR’s  industry leading Eden programme, was presented with the Meredydd David Award for Academic and Technical Excellence at a graduation ceremony at Chester Cathedral on Thursday March 14.

The Eden programme is a bespoke higher level apprenticeship, driven and supported by leading dairy companies, which upskills promising professionals in the sector. It is offered solely through UCR.

The Technical Manager at Dairy Partners (Cymru Wales), Aaron based his final year project on  determining the practicality and potential benefits of installing a new bulk clean-in-place (CIP) system at his company’s mozzarella factory in South Wales.

Clean-in-place is an automated method of cleaning the interior surfaces of pipes, vessels, filters and fittings without the need to dismantle the equipment and is commonly used in the food and beverage industry.

The three key principles of Aaron’s project were:

  • To review the quality assurance of a new CIP system to ensure that final product quality was not compromised
  • To ensure compliance with regulations and enhance customer confidence in the safety and quality of the products
  • To increase operational efficiency by reducing downtime, increasing productivity and reducing water and energy consumption, chemical use and effluent volumes.

 

Throughout his research, Aaron applied the academic learning, practical skills and project management techniques he had mastered during his higher level apprenticeship. These included microbiology, clean-in-place equipment design and automation, environmental impact and sustainability. He also worked with a multi disciplinary team of internal professionals and external agencies to ensure the success of the project.

His findings led to the installation of a new CIP system which is already delivering significant benefits to the business. The biggest operational efficiency is likely to result from a reduction in cleaning downtime, as this has freed up more time to produce cheese. Once fully realised, these improvements are expected to return an additional £5,000,000 worth of revenue to the business through increased productivity.

Other benefits have included a 43% reduction in water consumption and a 26% reduction in chemical use, resulting in a combined saving of £170,000 per year. These improvements will also significantly reduce the cost of effluent treatment and lessen environmental impact.

Aaron said: “My degree course at UCR proved invaluable as it equipped me with a solid foundation of knowledge and practical skills that significantly bolstered my professional abilities. Moreover, collaborating with my peers and like-minded professionals provided me with a unique opportunity to broaden my perspective and acquire new insights.

“The exceptional guidance and support from UCR’s lecturers, who brought a wealth of experience and expertise into the classroom, played a crucial role in my development. This nurturing environment not only facilitated my growth, but also continues to influence and shape my career trajectory to this day.”

Aaron, who graduated alongside peers from Eden Cohort 12, was also one of two runners-up in the Eden Student of the Year Award 2023 competition, run by the Society of Dairy Technology (SDT). Projects from the cohort were judged online and through face to face presentations and then viewed by over 50 representatives from leading dairy companies which support the Eden programme. The criteria included scientific explanation, technical complexity and value to the employer or dairy industry.

The winner of the SDT Eden Student of the Year was Anita Galezewska from family run Wyke Farms, Somerset, who gained the highest marks for her project on starter culture changes. Equal second was Will Collins, also of Wyke Farms.

Pictured above: Acting Dean Sarah Hopkinson, Mike Bennett, Aaron Morgan, coach Robbie Goodridge, Lisa Eden-Rump

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