Students Erayna Spencer and Bethany Hall were brave enough to face the foodservice and produce dragons at the recent Fresh Careers Fair – and their pitches paid off.
Crowned worthy winners by a panel of expert judges, Erayna, 35 from Hackney and Bethany, 21 from Newcastle University, each walked away with a mini iPad and the prestige of impressing the events dragons – professionals from the foodservice and fresh produce industry.
They were taking part in the Fresh Careers Fair, an event where industry, academia and commerce join forces, earlier this month where more than 400 students gathered to showcase themselves as the next generation of talent.
Also present were several big players from the fresh produce and foodservice industry as well as agricultural universities, institutions and recruitment agencies.
“The event was very creative and uplifting and I’m delighted that I have won the competition at the foodservice dragons’ den,” Erayna tells PBUK.
“I am ready to take my career in hospitality and catering to the next level.”
“I’m extremely pleased to have won,” adds Bethany. “I’m in my third year studying food science and nutrition at Newcastle University and I’d like to explore technical or nutritional roles within the food industry.”
Fresh produce dragons
The panel was made up of Fresh Produce Consortium CEO Nigel Jenney, retail fruit buyer Amy Lance and British Summer Fruits chairman Laurence Olins.
“Erayna is a very worthy winner, congratulations to her for impressing the judges,” said Olins.
“It was a very close event because there were also two very good runners up, Ana Monaghan from Queen’s University in Belfast and Tom Beach from Harper Adams, who we were also very impressed with.”
The panel consisted of HR director at contract catering company Vacherin, Dale Thompson, Sharon Linney, operations director at catering and hospitality company CH&Co Group, and Carol Borhani director of Angel Human Resources.
“We’ve been blown away by the extremely high calibre of people attending the Fresh Careers Fair,” Linney tells PBUK.
“Because the organisers of FCF have such a reach throughout the universities, we have seen such a breadth of candidate.
“It’s important for us as employers in this industry to support events like the Fresh Careers Fair because if we don’t then one day we will look behind us and there will be nobody coming into our industry.”
Echoing those comments, Borhani says she was inspired by the turnout and standard of students attending the event.
“In my 32 years of recruitment this has been the most engaging job fair that I have ever attended,” she says.
“The energy and interest was apparent throughout the day.”