Food firms should help plug the careers advice gap

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food and drink

Food and drink manufacturers should do more to help youngsters choose a career in the sector, after “the decimation” of careers advice, a leading teacher has warned.

In this video interview, Gaynor Bradley – head of science, technology, engineering and maths at Charters School, Ascot – said careers in the food sector had a good reputation among those students who had some contact with the sector but more should be done to drive awareness. “Promoting careers in food and drink obviously requires sponsorship in funding but also participation at a very high level in work placements from leading food and drink companies,” ​she said.  

Many students were forced to rely on their own resources to find out about careers in the sector, said Gaynor. “Pupils receive some advice about food industry careers but the careers advice service had been decimated over the past 10 years. Teachers do what they can but are not best placed to advise pupils on the specifics.”

‘Careers advice service has been decimated’

One imaginative initiative that was reaching out to young people considering a career in food and drink manufacturing was the Summer School at Nottingham University, she added.

During our video interview​ with Summer School student Martha Collison, who attended the course this year, she revealed how the industry could broaden its appeal to young people.

A profile of the course – published by our sister publication Food Manufacture​ – is available here​. The Summer School is is funded by the Chilled Food Association, the Institute of Food Science & Technology and a range of manufacturers and retailers including: 2 Sisters’ Food Group, Bakkavor, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. 

The sector employs about 400,000 people in the UK but needs to find an extra 170,300 new workers by 2020.

Meanwhile, more than 1,200 food and drink industry roles are currently available on Foodmanjobs​.

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