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First Welsh food industry skills ambassador named

By Rod Addy+

Last updated on 28-Oct-2013 at 17:25 GMT2013-10-28T17:25:56Z

Wales employs 230,000 people in the food and drink industry

Wales employs 230,000 people in the food and drink industry

The Welsh food industry’s first skills ambassador, who will spearhead a campaign to recruit and up-skill more workers for the sector, has been named as butcher Tomi Jones, from Llangollen.

Jones will feature in the first of a series of short films highlighting the important role skills play in delivering long-term food and drink careers.

Over the coming months, a further 24 figureheads will be chosen for the Future Skills … food for thought campaign, highlighting the importance of skills across the entire food and drink supply chain. Sectors covered will include agriculture, manufacturing, retail and hospitality.

Jones, aged 23, runs the family butchers in Llangollen and was named Welsh Young Butcher of the Year 2012.

He began his career in carpentry, but decided to retrain and, assisted by Jobs Growth Wales, gained NVQ Level 2 and 3 in Butchery with Cambrian Training. He now has three trainee apprentices to train in the profession.

Significant gaps

The Future Skills … food for thought campaign has been organised by the Welsh Food & Drink Skills Project after research pinpointed significant gaps across the food and drink supply chain.

The campaign will run for the rest of this year and into 2014, covering the whole of Wales and engaging with employers and membership bodies.

“We are delighted that our search for industry ambassadors has led us to Tomi,” said Sian Roberts-Davies, business development manager at land-based skills council Lantra.

“Learning about the importance he has placed in training should be an inspiration to all, not to mention the fact Tomi has since taken on three apprentices of his own.”

New entrants for the industry

The sector skills councils representing the industry aim to improve the skills of more than 75,000 employees in the sector as well as finding new entrants for the industry by 2020.

The Welsh Food & Drink Skills Project is supported by the Sector Priorities Fund Pilot programme with funding from the European Social Fund through the Welsh government.

It is delivered in partnership between Lantra, food and drink sector skills council Improve and People 1st Cymru, the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Council for Wales.

The food and drink industry in Wales currently employs 230,000 people, representing 18% of the Welsh workforce.

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