The Food and Drink Federation is helping to raise the profile of apprenticeships amongst food manufacturers by holding a series of regional roadshows across the country to inform food companies of the benefits apprentices can bring to their businesses.
This year the FDF will be working with its key partners – the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Skills Academy for food and drink – to run events across the UK including the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire.
Angela Coleshill, FDF’s director of competitiveness, said: “There is certainly appetite for investment in skills, which is why FDF members are taking collective action to help us build a pool of talented apprentices that can be developed and deployed across the industry – building skills for the future.”
The roadshow will start at the Food and Drink Expo at the NEC Birmingham on March 26. These workshops are designed to assist food businesses who want to understand the benefits of apprenticeships or are interested in expanding their existing activity.
Speakers will be on hand from the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Skills Academy for food and drink who will give food manufacturers advice on how to get the most from apprenticeships. Representatives from food manufacturers will be sharing their experiences, as well as apprentices themselves who will give the low down on their new careers.
In 2011 FDF launched a pledge to double the number of apprenticeships in the industry in England and Scotland to 3,400 by the end of 2012. It has since been working with member companies to make it easier for them to navigate through the process of setting up apprenticeships and arranging training and study.
As part of its careers campaign Taste Success – A Future in Food, the FDF is also contributing to raise awareness of career opportunities in the food industry amongst young people and promoting the food industry as an exciting industry to be in.
Coleshill added: “There is still work to be done to communicate to young people the wide variety of exciting roles on offer in the food industry, many of which are highlighted through some inspiring case studies on our website.”
Justine Fosh, director at the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, said: “In the past apprenticeships have been seen as mainly relevant to engineering roles but this is simply not the case now – there are now apprenticeships for the food sector that cover the whole range of job roles in our industry – from craft baker to continuous improvement manager, meat processor to milling operative.”