Nestlé opens doors to teachers in bid to fill skills gap

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

A York College teacher gets a taste of a food manufacturing apprenticeship
A York College teacher gets a taste of a food manufacturing apprenticeship

Related tags: Young people, Training, Apprenticeship

Nestlé has thrown open its factory doors to teachers to give them a taste of modern apprenticeships in a bid to help them communicate the career opportunities in the sector to young people.

Teachers from schools in York, Dalston in London and Fawdon in Newcastle upon Tyne will leave their classrooms to get a flavour of what a modern apprenticeship is really like by spending a day shadowing young people at Nestlé factories as part of the company’s support for National Apprenticeship Week this week.

Skills weeks

These visits form part of a skills week, which will also see Nestlé’s senior factory managers going back to the floor and shadowing apprentices – offering their support and career coaching.

This follows research commissioned by Nestlé UK in 2014 which revealed that the majority of UK businesses felt there were not enough young people studying maths and science to meet future demand for staff.

Also the majority of young people, and their teachers and tutors, did not know what businesses demanding recruits trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects were looking for.

Nestlé UK & Ireland chairman and ceo, Dame Fiona Kendrick, said apprenticeships were an “absolutely critical”​ part of the its academy programme.

“We are committed to leadership in this area, having doubled the number of apprenticeships we offer in the last 12 months,”​ she said.

“As part of our strategy to build the business it is vital we have a skilled and dynamic workforce and apprenticeships provide the perfect recruitment model and an unbeatable opportunity to start a new career.”

Apprentices key facts

  • There are 65,000 apprentices in the UK
  • 170,000 new employees are needed in food and drink manufacturing by 2020
  • 85,000 food and drink engineers are needed by the same date

As part of Nestlé’s Youth Employment Initiative to provide 1,900 job opportunities to young people by 2016, the company is recruiting 50 apprentices in 2015. It is extending schemes to food manufacturing and operations as well as broadening apprenticeships out to include supply chain and IT.

It currently has 90 full-time apprentices on courses ranging from engineering to food manufacturing.  

Nestlé apprentices will also take part in a Twitter question and answer session throughout the week, sharing their experiences of life in the food company and how they use their skills to make its brands.

Critical projects

All of Nestlé apprentices have a coach and mentor. They are given business critical projects that allow them to develop skills and understand the benefits of cost reduction and improvements to processes, the firm claimed.

Last year, Nestlé’s technical director Richard Martin told FoodManufacture.co.uk that teachers should spend one day in a food factory to help them educate students on the merits of a career in manufacturing.

Watch our video with Martin here.

Meanwhile, Apprenticeships Skills Funding Agency director Sue Husband said more food and drink firms should take on apprentices.

Related topics: Confectionery, People & Skills

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