Spalding apprentice is best student of year

At the awards: Sharon Green, Rohan Coomber, Darren Blackshaw.
At the awards: Sharon Green, Rohan Coomber, Darren Blackshaw.
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Spalding apprentice Rohan Coomber has scooped a prestigious food industry award.

Rohan, who works in the planning department at Dalehead Foods, received the award for the Best Food Industry Skills Meat Student at a ceremony in London recently.

The annual award is made by the Institute of Meat and Worshipful Company of Butchers and was given in recognition of Rohan’s outstanding academic achievement while completing her Diploma in Food Industry Skills as part of her Advanced Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Manufacturing with the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing at Holbeach.

The award came as a complete surprise for Rohan, who said: “I’ve always been interested in learning skills and have really enjoyed studying for my diploma. However, it came as a complete shock when I was told I had won the award.”

Darren Blackshaw, Dalehead’s site planning manager had nothing but praise for Rohan’s achievements.

He said: “Rohan has been with Dalehead for almost a year and a half now. During this time she has really applied herself to both studying and the job itself.

“When she first joined us Rohan had no PC skills or knowledge of food production. However, as her manager, I can honestly say that she could probably now run our planning department without help from me.”

Rohan was nominated for the award by Sharon Green, head of skills and work-based learning at the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing.

Sharon said: “I was incredibly impressed with the exceptionally high academic standard of Rohan’s work throughout her Diploma in Food Industry Skills, and this, combined with her natural ability to understand complex planning tasks, really stood her out from the crowd. I am delighted that Rohan’s achievements have been recognised with the presentation of this very special award.”

Dalehead Foods, based in Fulney Lane, Spalding, is a division of Tulip Ltd and has production facilities at Spalding, Corsham, Bury St Edmunds and Linton. It has been operating within the UK meat supply chain for over 40 years.

The company’s stated aim is to be “constantly striving for ways to improve the business”, something that extends from its farm operations to the factory.

Tulip Ltd – listed in the Sunday Times Inward Investment Track 50, a new league table which recognises the important role overseas-headquartered multinationals employing the most people in the UK play in the economy – is the country’s leading consumer food solutions business.

It has 16 fresh and cooked meat sites across the UK, employing around 7,000 people.

The company is owned by The Danish Crown group, which is the largest pork producer in Europe and the biggest exporter of pork in the world.