VWEX, created from Bournville’s Chocolate Centre of Excellence, takes students on a 5-day journey through the FMCG product development process using chocolate to drive engagement. It highlights STEM growth opportunities across the food system, enlivening the diverse, inclusive, progressive, and vibrant nature of Food and Drink careers in a fun, interactive and engaging way.
Participants attend 10 collaborative sessions hosted by subject experts who reflect the breadth of diversity and depth of technology Mondelez International believes are vital to the future success of the Food and Drink sector.
Student groups create a virtual product from an innovation brief which progresses through consumer testing, process engineering, sustainable packaging, virtual factory trial, regulatory considerations, advertising strategy, then sell it into the market.
The employability session introduces the variety of routes into aspirational food industry careers and highlights the importance of transferrable digital and soft skills.
The creators embraced the transformational change lockdown brought to work experience. Their equity program, available to all UK students, is the first of its kind from a food producer. It supports schools with their yearly challenge of placing students into meaningful work experience and received impressive feedback from teaching staff and students - more than tripling the number of participants considering food industry careers to over 60%.
Mondelēz aim to continue enriching the program and hope the FDF Awards platform will encourage other businesses to try this approach.
The Education Initiative 2023 award was sponsored by Cranfield University