Burton’s Biscuit Company is committing more than £1m over the next four years to develop new engineering talent.

The investment will be spent on the launch of an apprenticeship programme following a successful pilot at its Blackpool site, as well as offering three placements a year to undergraduates as part of the new MEng food engineering degree launching in September 2014 in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and the FDF.

Its pilot apprenticeship programme has already seen two apprentices enter their third year. A further 11 started employment across Burton’s four sites last month.

“Investment in talent helps future-proof our business and ensure we’re equipped for continued growth,” said head of manufacturing Simon Bourne. “As the industry becomes more technologically advanced, it presents significant opportunities for young people looking to develop a highly skilled career in a fast-moving environment.”

Meanwhile, this week the FDF launched a bursary package for students who are successful in applying for the MEng food engineering degree.

It will provide £1,500 as the first payment and a subsequent £1,000. The payments will be on top of paid industrial placements from £15,000-17,000 pro rata each year.

“We hope this bursary will demonstrate the benefits of joining our industry,” said FDF director of employment and skills Angela Coleshill. “This degree will not only help equip graduates with the right skills but also assist with the financial burden many students face.”