Eggs-cellent skills are needed to manufacture our Easter eggs

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A little bit about me

My name is Verity O’Keefe. I am 26 years old. And I am a chocoholic.

Now that you know this you can imagine my excitement that it is Easter on Sunday and that can only mean one thing – chocolate eggs.

I have quite a large family so I can quite optimistically predict I will receive 5+ eggs on Sunday. This may seem eggs-cessive (sorry I couldn’t help it, and expect more as this blogs continues) but I remember being back at school writing to my penpal (who was actually my “faxfriend”) and telling her I had acquired an eggs-travagent (I did warn you) 22 eggs.

A little bit about Easter eggs

22 eggs – seems a lot right? Well, according to some fun Easter facts sent to me by the Food and Drink Federation earlier this week, the British public will spend around £250m on Easter eggs and novelties this spring.  In my hunt for some top Easter egg facts I also discovered that Britons love chocolate so much that in the world league tables of per capital consumption, the UK comes joint 4th behind Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

In fact Britons love their Easter eggs so much that 25% admitted that they had eaten some of theirs the day before and 8% confessed to eating all of theirs beforehand. This may sound eggs-treme, but I am in that camp (it was not uncommon for me and my sisters to have to replace the chocolate bars we had prematurely eaten from our eggs!)

A little bit more about Easter eggs

Now before I get to the point of this blog, which I will do – stay with me, here are some other egg-cellent interesting facts about Easter eggs:

  • In 2014, Cadbury had seven out of the ten top selling eggs – top of that list was the Cadbury Crème Egg.

  • The Marvellous Creations Egg, which only launched last year, took the third spot.

  • Today, in 24 hours at Bournville, Mondelez International will make 1.2. million Cadbury Crème Eggs.

  • Each year in Bournville, Mondelez International produces a whopping 47m Easter Eggs each year – making Bournville pretty much the Easter Egg capital of the world.

The manufacturing Easter egg process

So all these Easter eggs are being made, but who is making them? Who are you lucky employees that get to spend their days surrounded by chocolate? I was thinking there must be a few engineers involved (ahhhh that’s where she’s going with this.) In fact the whole process of creating an Easter egg requires various manufacturing skill-sets, which we know are in demand across the manufacturing industry - just take a look at the process of manufacturing an Easter egg -


 And some brief policy points

As we can see from the process above, manufacturing Easter eggs requires engineers. Chemical, Process, Civil and Mechanical engineers are all required. We know that these engineers are demanded across the manufacturing industry, indeed 66% of manufacturers plan to recruit an engineering graduate (many with the above disciplines) in the next 3 years, and 66% plan to recruit an engineering apprentice.

Manufacturers' growth ambitions are putting further pressure on the demand for skills. Launching new products and services (New lines this season for Easter eggs include the Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo egg for eggs-ample) and entering into new markets is resulting in new, higher-level skills being demanded. Looking to the future, a range of factors will influence skills demands further - future markets, technological developments, where the Easter egg manufacturers chose to locate parts of their manufacturing processes.

We are suffering from a shortfall of engineers. Engineering UK estimates that to meet demand expected by 2022, we will need to double the number of engineering graduates and see a two-fold increase in the number of engineering apprentices.

I have blogged before on the need to get more young people (male and female) into the manufacturing industry and we need tackle the perceptions of manufacturing. This is something the Food and Drink Federation also speak about with great passion.

But boosting the talent pipeline is not enough. New technologies and trends towards high-value good and services means that existing employees need retraining to keep up with processes. And we need to support manufacturers to recruit the highly skilled employees needed now - we need a flexible and adaptable workforce, giving employers access to skilled engineers from across the global and supporting them in attracting, retaining and retaining not just those within the existing manufacturing workforce, but also outside of it.

A personal concluding note

If a world without enough engineers means a world without enough Easter eggs, then I think action needs to be taken. Otherwise we will be left to rely on the Easter bunny, or as we do in my family...the Oozlum Bird



Head of Education & Skills Policy

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