The firm hopes that apprentices will account for 2% its UK & Ireland workforce employed in manufacturing
Alan Lewis, head of the Kraft Foods apprenticeship programme, said: “We recognize 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.”
Last week, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) also pledged to double the number of apprentices working in the UK food and drink sector.
Jon Poole, chief executive of the Institute of Food Science & Technology, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Other sectors have traditionally used the apprenticeship route as a matter of course. Much of the issue is a cultural one about encouraging employers to re-think how they recruit and develop people into the roles they need filling.”
Poole praised the FDF’s Community Partnerships Awards presented last week.“The FDF is going about this in the right way by highlighting the case for apprenticeships and providing case-studies that showcase the success of apprentices. Using the Community Partnerships Awards to acknowledge apprenticeships was a good way of signalling to employers the benefits of taking on apprenticeships.”
Government could help to boost the number of apprentices working in UK food and drink firms by cutting the red tape surrounding their appointment, he added.
“The more that government can do to simplify the processes involved, the better. This is especially important for SMEs (small- to medium- sized enterprises) which represent an important, vibrant and growing element of the food sector. Making it easier to SMEs to take on and support apprentices would make a big difference.”
IFST is currently developing professional recognition for science technicians as part of a national scheme recognising professional technicians across science, engineering and information communications technology. “We hope that many of the current intake of apprentices, once they have completed their apprenticeship training, will want to go on to be professionally recognised for the skills and experience they have acquired,” said Poole.
Meanwhile, SME food and drink firms are invited to attend Food Manufacture’s free SME Business Leaders' Round Table. It will be staged at legal specialist Eversheds’ Leeds office on November 29.
On offer will be news, views and opinion geared to helping SME food and beverage executives make the best of current business opportunities.
For more information about this free-to-attend event, click here, telephone 01293 610231 or email email@example.com.