The first of the new qualifications replacing NVQs for the food and drink industry is to be launched next month.
The Food Manufacturing Excellence qualification will be the first Improve Proficiency Qualification (IPQ) to be released.
Designed by Improve – the Sector Skills Council for Food and Drink – with feed in from employers, the qualification is being presented with promises of flexibility to suit any training strategy and a closer connection to business improvement, increasing the bottom line and helping with staff motivation. It is a designed around a units system whereby one unit is awarded when an individual can display the capacity to perform a particular task. It will be accredited by the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and specifically the Food and Drink Qualifications (FDQ) awarding organisation.
Derek Williams, development director at Improve, said: “after 18 months we are now in the final stages and concentrating on the finer details of how its principles and benefits will be implemented and delivered in the workplace.
“It gives employers the flexibility to specify what they want their employees to do and know in order to improve overall performance, as well as to work with training providers to adapt their training to ensure it meets their needs. At the end of the process, employers have a workforce which has both the skills needed and recognised qualifications.”
Two of the companies that will be among the first to commence programmes on the food Manufacturing Excellence qualification are Swizzels Matlow and Kensey Foods. The two were consulted by Improve during the development of the qualification and are now working with the FDQ to help companies decide which employees train in which areas.
Tony Salt, training and development manager at Swizzels Matlow, said: “I believe that over the past six years, Improve has worked extremely hard to ensure flexibility and deliver bespoke training packages. Where a company already has a strong training culture, it is my belief that employers are best placed to select and conduct training for their staff. This qualification, in the way that it is flexible and totally adaptable to individual companies’ strategies, marks a step change in the control employers have over training and qualifications.”
The new qualification will be available at level one from April, level two from April and levels three and four in May or June.