Manufacturing bosses in schools skills plan

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Premier Foods boss Gavin Darby will be going back to school to boost students' employment prospects
Premier Foods boss Gavin Darby will be going back to school to boost students' employment prospects

Related tags Food

Top food and drink manufacturing bosses Gavin Darby, Premier Foods, Leendert den Hollander, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Ranjit Singh Boparan, 2 Sisters Food Group, will be joining other food industry bosses in a back-to-schools plan to sharpen students’ employment prospects.

The trio will join retail bosses – including  Sainsbury’s Mike Coupe and Andy Clarke of Asda – together with foodservice and cash and carry leaders in an initiative organised by the grocery think tank IGD.

The Feeding Britain’s Future Schools Programme aims to help 13 to 17-year-olds develop the skills they need to find work. In an industry-first, the bosses will provide a full spectrum of support for schoolchildren by explaining how lessons learnt both in and out of the classroom can help them in their later working life.

Three specific areas

The teach-in targets will include three specific areas: transferable skills – by providing examples of how expertise at work can be developed at school and through extra-curricular activities – how the subjects they are studying at school can influence future careers and how to write eye-catching CVs and deal with challenging interview questions.

The programme aims to reach 5,000 youngsters by the end of November. It will also aim to help older unemployed people.

‘Training and apprenticeships’

Asda chief executive and IGD president Clarke said the plan was a key way for the food industry to support the communities. “As our economy recovers it is essential to invest in training and apprenticeships not only to ensure young people find employment, but also to protect the future of our industry,”​ he said.

Teach-in targets

  • Transferable skills
  • How school subjects influence careers
  • How to write eye-catching CVs 

“We anticipate building on what we expect to be a successful campaign led by IGD and encourage other sectors to participate in similar initiatives.”

Now in its fourth year, the Feeding Britain’s Future campaign has so far provided 40,000 training opportunities, to equip young unemployed people with the skills training they need to find work.

IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said a test project had received encouraging feedback. “Nine out of 10 of the students who’ve taken part so far have told us that the workshops helped them realise how their skills and subject choices can be applied to the world of work.

“When I spoke to students at last year’s pilot it was clear that they didn’t fully value the experiences they’ve developed at school, so we want to help them recognise that these skills are transferable to working life.”

Bosses taking part

• Andy Clarke, Asda

• Charles Wilson, Booker Group

• Ken McMeikan, Brakes Group

• Leendert den Hollander, Coca-Cola Enterprises

• Steve Murrells, The Co-operative Retail

• Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD

• Blas Maquivar, Mars Chocolate UK

• Angus Maciver, McCurrach

• Mary Barnard, Mondelēz International

• Chris Martin, Musgrave Group

• Gavin Darby, Premier Foods

• Tom Moody, Procter & Gamble

• Mike Coupe, Sainsbury

• Ranjit Singh Boparan, 2 Sisters Food Group

• Graeme Pitkethly, Unilever UK & Ireland

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