The minister for employment, Mark Hoban, is meeting the food manufacturing industry’s top players today (November 12) – including Mars, Cranswick and Associated British Foods (ABF) – to offer them cash incentives for employing young people.
Also joining the meeting will be representatives from Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods), Dairy Crest, Tulip, Vion Foods, Heinz, Moy Park and Whitbread.
In a statement issued to FoodManufacture.co.uk, the minister for employment Mark Hoban said: “The money’s there for the taking, so I encourage employers to snap it up before someone else does.”
The meeting is a message to the industry’s leading employers that the government will work with them to ensure its future workforce is equipped with the skills needed to work in food manufacturing.
Cash for food manufacturers
The government is encouraging business to open up opportunities for young people through a range of measures, collectively called ‘The Youth Contract’. Over three years the £1bn scheme aims to create opportunities for nearly 500,000 young people.
Hoban said: “Through the Youth Contract, as well as offering 250,000 work experience places to give young people skills and experience, we’re also offering a wage incentive of up to £2,275 for every 18- to 24-year-old taken on from one of our Work Programme providers and 20,000 extra apprenticeship grants worth £1,500 each.
The scheme also aims to tackle the issue of youth unemployment.
A spokeswoman from the Department for Work and Pensions told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The wide variety of jobs available in the food and drink manufacturing sector means the industry is ideally placed to open doors to enthusiastic young people who are eager to work.
“The contract is part of the government’s commitment to tackling youth unemployment, and determination that the talent of our youth can not be allowed to go to waste.”
As well as giving young people the skills and experience they need to find work, food manufacturers will have a chance to see a potential recruit in action and shape their development.
Hoban said: “I know that, despite the better economic news we’ve heard recently, these are still uncertain times, and taking on new staff can be a big step. But it’s also a good time to invest for the future. If we work together, we can help more young people into work – and ensure the food and drink industry is prepared for the future.”