A Future in Food, a programme of The Scottish Food and Drink Federation designed to help teachers, pupils and parents understand the food and drink manufacturing sector in Scotland, has secured ongoing funding from the Scottish government worth £270,000 over three years.
The sum will enable the programme to extend its impact and reach across Scotland. Since its launch in 2010, 3,500 pupils have been engaged in activities designed to boost their awareness of careers in the food industry. This ranges from food forensic projects, where pupils use science to uncover the properties of different food products, to BBC ‘Dragon’s Den’ style activities where young people develop and present their food business strategies.
These initiatives are designed to help young people make links between the subjects they study at school and the skills needed for a career in the food industry.
Moira Stalker, Schools Programme co-ordinator at SFDF, said: “As Scotland’s biggest manufacturing industry, food and drink offers many exciting career opportunities for young people. Professionals in food are committed to bringing our industry to life for students in an engaging, interactive way by providing hand-on support to schools.”
Richard Lochhead MSP, rural affairs secretary, said: “Scotland’s food and drink industry is one of our country’s success stories, thanks to the outstanding natural produce we have on our doorstep. At a time when many industries are feeling the effects of the economic downturn, our food and drink industry is continuing to buck the trend.”
The Scottish government estimates that 12,000 new entrants need to enter the food and drink industry of the next 10 years: the sector has an ageing workforce, with 28% aged 55 or over.
“There are a wide range of rewarding career opportunities available and the Future in Food programme will ensure our young people are aware of what’s on offer, allowing them to equip themselves with the skills they need for a great career,” Lochhead added.
The food and drink supply chain employs over 360,000 people across Scotland, 50,000 of which work in manufacturing alone.
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