Food firms to double apprenticeships

By Graham Holter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Industry, Apprenticeship, Fdf

BBC TV's The Apprentice winner, Tim Campbell (left) presents Calum Marnock, from Kraft Foods, with a trophy at the FDF Community Partnership Awards ceremony
BBC TV's The Apprentice winner, Tim Campbell (left) presents Calum Marnock, from Kraft Foods, with a trophy at the FDF Community Partnership Awards ceremony
The food and drink industry has pledged to double the number of apprenticeships in the sector by the end of next year.

The Food & Drink Federation (FDF) hopes to lift the number of places from 1,700 to 3,400.

The target sits within the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA's) pledge in June to fund 50,000 apprenticeships within the broader food industry. The sectors involved include retailing, catering and agriculture as well as manufacturing and processing.

The FDF said food producers needed to replace up to 137,000 skilled workers over the next five years. But it stressed it did not expect all member companies to double the number of apprentices they take on.

Good prospects

Director of competitiveness Angela Coleshill said: “We have been working to raise the profile of food and drink as a career of first choice and make sure that young people know about the exciting range of careers and good prospects on offer in our industry.

“In tandem with raising awareness, we need to be sure that we can match this with education and practical skills development and, ultimately, jobs.”

This year, the FDF has launched Taste Success – A Future in Food​, a campaign to highlight the range of careers on offer and “challenge perceptions about food manufacturing​”.

It is also working with the sector skills council Improve and member companies to develop a food manufacturing engineering degree that will be launched within the next two years.

Alan Lewis, head of the Kraft Foods apprenticeship programme, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We recognise the power of apprenticeships and the energy they bring to the workplace.

“We will continue to invest in skills to support our manufacturing network. That is why, in 2011, we have taken on a further 20 apprentices in both engineering and confectionery at sites including Bournville, Banbury and Sheffield.

Apprenticeships offer a route to identify and develop new talent within the business, he said. “They ensure that our workforce has the right mix of both the practical skills and qualifications that we need to remain competitive.”

Significant commitment

Jon Poole, chief executive of the Institute of Food Science & Technology, welcomed the announcement.I am pleased to see that FDF has doubled its target. Doubling the original target is clearly a significant commitment but, at the same time, given the number of employers in the sector, this should be possible to achieve,” ​he said.

The announcement was made by BBC TV’s The Apprentice winner Tim Campbell at the FDF’s Community Partnership Awards.

Campbell said: “Food and drink is the UK's largest manufacturing industry. And it is important that it develops and retains skilled people in order that it continues to flourish and support the country's economy.

“We need to create opportunities for young people to come in to the workforce through routes other than a degree path and I'm delighted to be able to announce a doubling of the apprenticeships on offer in future.”

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1 comment

product development apprenticeship

Posted by susan sullivan,

Reading this makes me feel very angry with the industry. I have been desperately trying to find a job in product development for the past year but to no avail. I have a little talent for this and have done a business course in preparation for my own start-up but cannot find funding. I would love an apprenticeship in product development but no-one is interested in hiring me.

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