FDF welcomes government manufacturing report

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

The food and drink manufacturing sector needs 170,300 new employees by 2020
The food and drink manufacturing sector needs 170,300 new employees by 2020

Related tags: Fdf director general, Industry

A top government report on UK manufacturing has been welcomed by industry trade body the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) for reflecting the sector’s priorities.

FDF director general Melanie Leech said: “The Foresight Report on the Future of Manufacturing is a timely reminder of the huge contribution manufacturing makes to the UK economy, the quality of jobs it provides and its potential to deliver more with the right policy frameworks.”

She was commenting on the launch of the report, from the Government Office for Science, today (October 30) by secretary of state for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable.

The key growth drivers mentioned in the document: innovation, exports and increasing the skills pipeline mirrored those identified in the FDF’s ‘2020’ vision to deliver sustainable growth by 20% by 2020, said Leech.

The government report outlines future manufacturing skills trends such as increasing demand for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) qualifications and a growing need to combine technical specialisms with commercial and practical ability.

‘Demand likely to exceed supply’

“Future demand is currently likely to exceed supply especially as, at present, only around a quarter of engineering and technology graduates work in manufacturing six months after graduation,”​ the document claims.

Another issue would be tackling the problem of an ageing workforce as healthcare advances enable people to live longer, it states.

It calls for the government to promote STEM subjects, increase and diversify the supply of manufacturing workers, and equip them with high quality skills.

An FDF spokeswoman added: “Though we are the UK’s largest manufacturing sector in the UK, without a secure pipeline of talent, our industry won’t be able to thrive.”

Skills initiatives

The food industry is involved in a number of skills initiatives to recruit the 170,300 new employees it needs by 2020, including See Inside Manufacturing, designed to dispel manufacturing’s poor image.

“Young people and women tend to have a negative perception of manufacturing, with 67% of girls aged 7–11, indicating they would not like a job in manufacturing compared with 44% of boys,”​ stated the Foresight Report.

The industry is also engaged in the development and promotion of the MEng Food Engineering degree, creating the UK’s first food engineering degree, and is a Trailblazer sector in the government’s current apprenticeship overhaul.

Related topics: People & Skills

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