The National Association of British and Irish Millers (Nabim) met with members from the London and South East Milling Association (LSEMS) in London and the North of England Flour Millers’ Association at the Old Golf House Hotel, Huddersfield to present certificates to students who came top in the nabim milling examinations.
The meeting at 21 Arlington Street, London, heard an address from Nabim Director General Alex Waugh and the President George Marriage.
Alex Waugh began by talking about Brexit. He said: “It is a complete fog – you can understand why people are fed up with it (Brexit).
“There has been a complete failure of politicians on all sides.”
He said Nabim had been working on aspects of Brexit which “could make a difference to your businesses.”
“The flour milling industry is quite serious and does things properly. It is best in class and nobody else has done that – we have set the agenda.”
Mr Waugh spoke about what Nabim had been doing in preparation for Brexit.
He said the organisation had been working tirelessly with various stakeholders about what to do in the event of a no deal Brexit as well as how a deal might affect members.
Nabim holds a monthly briefing session with members by telephone to update them on Brexit.
Nabim has been working with the Arable and Agrifoood Brexit Group.
“That has been a good group and we have learnt a lot from it. We are doing our best to prepare for whatever the outcome is.”
He showed the meeting in London and Huddersfield a flowchart of how Nabim predicted Brexit would go – and it was remarkably accurate.
“That was quite prescient because there has been a jam in Parliament and it is precisely where the debate is now.
“The truth is nobody really knows what is going to happen.
“We need to make sure that the rules of origin allow us to make the goods. The work has been done and the understanding has been established,” he added.
He went on to talk about technical and regulatory matters affecting millers such as new rules governing how much ergot is permissible in flour and the prospect of having flour fortified with folic acid.
“There will be a consultation later in the Spring,” he said.
Wheat quality assessments and Red Tractor status were also important for the milling industry.
Mr Marriage then gave a talk about Nabim’s pioneering development of the “virtual mill” which is an exciting industry development.
The virtual mill is an interactive online facility for students of milling. It has everything a real mill would have – from plan sifters to roller mills – in a virtual environment.
“Our training programmes have a long and very distinguished history in milling,” he said.
“Millers who have taken the Advanced Milling Diploma have clearly benefited from it.”
Mr Marriage then awarded a certificate to Emily Munsey, of Clarks Mill in Wantage. Emily, 20, got the highest UK grade in Module 6 (Power and Automation)
The Nabim contingent then moved up north to Huddersfield where more students who had won top marks in the various modules were also presented with a certificate.
They were: Katie Barwise, 28, of Silloth Mill, Carrs who got the top mark for Module 7 – Flour Mill Management.
Katie said: “My grandfather was a joiner at Silloth Mill so I wanted to work there and keep it in the family.”
Craig Slater – was Hovis at the time, now Whitworths (Manchester) – Module 1 (Safety, Health and Hygiene)
Mohammed Sarwar – ADM (Knottingley) – Module 2 (Wheat and the Screenroom)
Mohammed Sarwar – ADM (Knottingley) – joint top Module 3 (Mill Processes and Performance)
Jack Westhead – ADM (Liverpool) – joint top Module 3 (Mill Processes & Performance)
Laura Lawson – Carrs (Kirkcaldy) – Module 4 (Product Handling, Storage & Distribution) – did not attend and Katie Barwise received it on her behalf.
Jennifer Cunnah – ADM (Liverpool) – Module 5 (Flour)
Mr Marriage ended by talking about health and safety saying the focus was on stress and mental health in the workplace., He ended by showing a video of a dust explosion in Buxton where a 16kg bag of flour exploded causing mass destruction.