Food manufacturing apprentices double in number

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drink manufacturing Apprenticeship Employment

'Hiring an apprentice helps businesses to grow their own talent,' said David Way
'Hiring an apprentice helps businesses to grow their own talent,' said David Way
The number of people starting a food manufacturing apprenticeship soared by 96% in 2011/12, according to the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), which urged new starters to enter the National Apprenticeship Awards.

David Way, NAS chief executive, said the boost was great news for UK food and drink manufacturing. “Hiring an apprentice helps businesses to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce,”​ said Way.

“Apprenticeships also give individuals an opportunity to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification and a real future.”

Way urged employers and individuals who have benefited from apprenticeships to enter the National Apprenticeship Awards before nominations close on April 26. Entering the awards was an  opportunity for employers and individuals to gain the recognition they deserved for building the national skills base, he added.

The awards, now in their tenth year, include a new category this year for the best Apprenticeship Employer Newcomer. This will recognise employers who have started to employ apprentices in the past two years and are already seeing the benefits.

National skills base

The awards​ cover apprenticeships spanning a range of industries, from engineering and manufacturing through to hospitality and the creative and digital sector.

The awards ceremony will take place at The Skills Show in November, the UK’s biggest careers event sponsored by the Edge Foundation and City & Guilds. The best employer entries will also feature in the annual Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, published in partnership with City & Guilds.

Last year’s apprenticeship champion was won by Jenny Westworth, from BAE Systems. She went on to take part in a job swap with skills minister, Matthew Hancock.

Commenting on the awards, Hancock said: “Apprentices deliver because they support economic growth, ensuring that both employers and employees have the skills they need for their companies to succeed.

“These awards offer a great platform for everyone involved to gain recognition not just for excelling in their chosen field, but for playing a leading part in that vital process.”

Gain recognition

Meanwhile, Brian May, md of Berthon Boat Company, which won the Medium Employer of the Year category, said: “These awards recognise and reinforce your company's role and respect in the community, thereby boosting customer appreciation of your company.”

The food and drink manufacturing sector needed about 137,000 new recruits to replace staff who planned to retire between 2012 and 2017, according to Improve, the skills council for food and drink manufacturers.

At the end of last year, data from NAS and Improve, showed that, since August 2011, there have been 5,281 apprenticeship starts​ in food and drink manufacturing businesses.

Apprenticeships now make up 1.3% of the overall food and drink manufacturing workforce – up from 0.4% in 2010/11.

For more information about the food manufacturing apprenticeships, don’t miss the April issue of our sister publication Food Manufacture​, published next week.

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