Food industry must become ‘career of first choice’

Posted on 23 Mar 2011 by The Manufacturer

A leading trade organisation for the food manufacturing industry has warned its members that they must become more attractive to new talent if they are going to prosper in the future.

The Food and Drink Federation is profiling its new careers campaign ‘Taste Success – A Future in Food’ at today’s Attracting Talent and Increasing Productivity conference, run in conjunction with the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink.

The campaign aims to show potential entrants that the UK food and drink manufacturing sector is a ‘career of first choice’ providing real opportunities for individuals to build their own skills and experience as well as a long-term rewarding career in an industry which is leading the way in regards to scientific and technological innovation, research and development.

Speaking at the conference, FDF director of HR Angela Coleshill said: “Like many other manufacturing sectors, the food and drink industry suffers from a poor image against other career choices. Figures show that one in five food scientist and food technologist vacancies remain hard to fill which is a threat to our future ability to innovate.

“FDF is committed to addressing these issues by working with our members and key stakeholders to raise our sector’s profile as a career destination of choice for school leavers and graduates.

“Further work in partnership with the National Skills Academy for food and drink will set us on a path to harness and develop talent to ensure we have the technicians, team leaders and middle managers of the future; if the UK food and drink industry is to compete, not only at a national level but on a global scale it must improve its productivity and ability to deliver solutions to complex technological advances.
We believe that the key to that success lies in both attracting talent for the future and building the skills of the existing workforce to be able to respond to these challenges.”

FDF says attracting new talent is a particularly pertinent issue for the food manufacturing industry as a third of its current workforce is set to retire over the next 20 years.

Click here to see the FDF’s Busting the myths booklet about working in the food manuifacturing industry.