Government confirms food industry as apprenticeship Trailblazer

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food industry Sheffield hallam university Sheffield

Fosh: sector now 'very much the top table in terms of economic recognition'
Fosh: sector now 'very much the top table in terms of economic recognition'
The government has confirmed the food industry as one of the business sectors that will act as a Trailblazer, leading the way to reform England’s apprenticeship programme.

A range of food and drink manufacturers have already stepped forward to support the programme, including Nestlé UK, Premier Foods and Unilever.

As Trailblazers these companies, as well as names such as Arla Foods, Müller Dairy and Mondelēz International, will lead development of new apprenticeship standards and assessments.

Once approved, these will become the official characteristics for all food manufacturing apprenticeships.

Skills minister Matthew Hancock announced the decision today (October 28), during a launch event held at BMW’s Oxford production line for the Mini.

Employers at the forefront

The scheme is designed to put employers at the forefront of managing funding, standards and quality.

The first task for food industry participants will be to develop revised standards for apprenticeships for maintenance engineers in their sector.

Reforms to other apprenticeships and assessment approaches in England are set to continue until 2017–2018 when all apprenticeships are expected to be based on the new standards.

The first apprenticeships to be delivered under the new regime are expected to begin during the 2014–2015 academic year.

‘The top table’

“The fact that food and drink is among the first-choice sectors to influence such important reform shows the sector is now very much the top table in terms of economic recognition,”​ said Justine Fosh, ceo of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink.

“Many of the leading dairy firms named as Trailblazers have already worked with the Academy on training and learning paths related to engineering maintenance.”

These particular apprenticeships would dovetail closely with the UK’s first dedicated food engineering degree, taking in its first students next year, which would be delivered by Sheffield Hallam University, near Sheffield, said Fosh.

Hancock said: “I am very pleased that the food and drink industry has chosen to be at the forefront of our apprenticeship reforms."

‘Great opportunity’

“This is a great opportunity to be a Trailblazer, building on existing successes to lay the foundations for rigorous and easily understood apprenticeships that will help Britain compete in the global race.

“Our aim is that the new apprenticeships will focus squarely on rigorous training for learners and simplicity of use for large and small employers, who will be in the driving seat of apprenticeships in future. This will mean that our apprenticeship system will respond better to the needs of the modern economy.”

For more on jobs in the food industry, visit FoodManJobs here​.

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