Exclusive interview: IGD 2014 convention

Food industry successfully filling skills gap

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United kingdom Food and drink

The food and drink industry’s quest to attract new talent is gaining ground, according to the president of Mars Chocolate UK Fiona Dawson.

Dawson, who is also president of grocery think-tank IGD, told FoodManufacture.co.uk in this exclusive video that initiatives such as Feeding Britain’s Future had received “phenomenal endorsements” ​from people including Prime Minister David Cameron.

‘Blowing our own trumpet’

“Blowing our own trumpet, we’ve been really successful and I think Feeding Britain’s Future has been pushing at an open door,”​ she said. “What really impressed the PM was the fact that we were taking this so seriously, so it wasn’t a flash in the pan.”

The food and drink industry had woken up to the benefits of investing time and money in young people, Dawson claimed.

“Not just in the skills that they can bring into our industry and the gaps that we have, but also because so many of us started off in the industry,” ​she added.

Dawson has worked in food and drink manufacturing for almost 30 years, having joined Mars as a graduate from university. Other than two years at PepsiCo, she has spent her entire career with the confectionery giant.

Last month, Feeding Britain’s Future brought together more than 200 food and grocery companies across the UK that opened their doors to provide free employability workshops for young unemployed people. 

2,300 workshops

There were 2,300 workshops across 1,300 locations throughout England, Scotland and Wales during ‘Skills for Work Month’.

Companies offered over 15,000 training opportunities for young, unemployed people bringing the total offered since the campaign began three years ago to 40,000.

Related topics People & Skills

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