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Attracting young people into flour milling

I have been in post for around two months and one thing has become clear – there is a real challenge in encouraging a new wave of younger millers into the industry.

Milling is a very forward thinking and exciting industry to be involved with with lots of opportunities but how do we get that message across to young people? When I was going up my first experience with milling was with Windy Miller. He was the iconic traditionalist who ran Colley’s Mill in Camberwick Green and he appeared in every episode of the hit children’s show.

Windy Miller – image by Gary Woodburn on Flickr

While it may not seem that significant Windy Miller at least put milling into my world at a young age – I had an awareness of what milling was all about and as such it put the industry firmly into my psyche. I am not suggesting that inventing a new cartoon character would solve the problem of attracting young people into the industry but it might help. A modern day Windy would have a whole host of new challenges to deal with and a whole host of new technologies to get to grips with. It would not be enough for him to still be using a windmill to grind his flour – he would have lots of options and computer technology to boot. Infra red colour sorters and tools to measure how much protein there is in wheat would all be part of Windy’s day.

How would he deal with the demonisation of gluten? How would he get his wheat to market – all challenges the modern day miller has to face every day. If anyone has any ideas about how we attract a new generation of millers I would be very interested to hear about them – email me on matth@perendale.co.uk.