Introducing…Ant Hobson, Maker Space Coordinator!
1.What is a ‘Maker Space Coordinator’?
Well for a start I believe it’s the most unique job title in the UK; you might think Prime Minister, but we’ve had 3 of them in 6 months, so I think I win.
The title may be a bit of a mouthful, but I guess it ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’, I co-ordinate the maker spaces for Digital Dairy Chain (DDC).
The maker spaces being small scale dairy production facilities which will offer producers the chance to develop new products or scale up their kitchen creations into commercially viable production.
2. What does a typical day at work involve?
I expect my role to morph slightly over time as the project develops, but my focus now is promoting DDC and researching the market to help decide which products we want to be able to produce. This involves spending a lot of time having meetings with people in or connected to the industry and attending industry events and trade shows to build my network.
3. Who can use the Maker Spaces?
I guess the simple answer is anyone in or connected to the dairy supply chain in the qualifying region, Cumbria and the South and West of Scotland. The types of users we have in mind though are, for example, farmers looking to diversify into making their own products, small scale producers who need help developing new products or scaling up their production or even larger producers who need a smaller scale plant to develop new recipes without producing in bulk volumes.
4. What is the most challenging part of your job?
Because we’re in the relatively early stages of the project, and we are trying to reach SMEs and start-ups (or even people just at the ideas phase of their business journey), it can be difficult to disseminate our message and let the world know that we exist. With the amazing package of support DDC are offering, I believe that once the word starts to spread that interest will grow exponentially.
5. What is the most exciting part?
I think the potential we have to truly make a difference, not just to the dairy industry but to the wider community. We’re blessed in this region with an abundance of natural resources and a huge milk field yielding a lot of value- yet we still have poor growth and low employment, and many of those producing milk are struggling to make a living with the current milk prices and ever-increasing costs. I think to be part of an initiative that will help stimulate business growth and opportunities into the area is really something to be proud of.
6. Tell us something interesting about you!
I’m a keen amateur musician! I play guitar, piano, bass, drums, ukulele, mandolin, harmonica, and I sing. I was a lead guitarist in a band many, many moons ago but now it’s just a hobby. Luckily, I have a very patient and forgiving wife who lets me fill the house with instruments… and noise.
I’m also technically an award- winning cheese maker, despite only ever making one batch! Whilst I was studying at Reaseheath College, my group made a batch of Cheshire cheese. The college decided to age the cheese and enter it as a mature Cheshire in the Nantwich Cheese show, and it won the gold award!
To find out more about the Maker Spaces and the opportunities for new product development please click here.