Skills group urges firms to forge industry standards

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Training Apprenticeship

The food industry should help shape its standards
The food industry should help shape its standards
The food industry should help set job performance standards and bring qualification learning up-to-date to battle the skills gap it faces, according to the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD).

Those working in the food and drink industry should help set these benchmarks during a summer-long review of National Occupational Standards (NOS), NSAFD claimed.

The Academy is calling on food technologists and engineers to take part in telephone interviews or short workplace face-to-face meetings with NOS review staff.

Those able to devote more time have the option of attending one of two summer NOS review meetings.

Input is critical

Food technologists are the lifeblood of product innovation while engineers are key to efficient production in an increasingly automated environment and therefore their input is critical, NSAFD ceo Justine Fosh said.

“Advances in production technology, demand for new product development and constant prioritisation of food safety and quality has brought change and new requirements into food technologist roles,” ​she said.

“New NOS for food technologists will help plug gaps in apprenticeship training and bring qualification learning up-to-date while qualifications in engineering specific to the food industry will be founded on NOS and need to continue to reflect the unique needs of the food industry in changing times.”

Business involvement will ensure the benchmark industry standards of performance and knowledge keep pace with changing industry needs and effective working practices, she added.

NOS set down industry expectations of performance and achievement and the specific knowledge and skills staff needed to perform effectively. They form the basis of industry qualifications and are used to inform professional development as well as resource management.


“A person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages.” 

  • Source: Oxford Dictionary​ 

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, NOS will be used to underpin existing apprenticeships and qualifications, NSAFD said.

It will also inform future qualifications and ensure learning content remained fit for purpose, it added. 

No apprenticeship

In Scotland, where there is currently no  food industry designed modern apprenticeship in engineering, industry agreement to revised NOS could establish a food and drink engineering maintenance qualification and apprenticeship, NSAFD claimed.

Contributing to NOS development was a great way the overcome the food industry’s skills shortage, Fosh claimed.

“The best way to secure these skills is to ‘grow your own’ by helping to confirm the NOS that attractive apprenticeships can then be built around,”​ she added.

The results of the meetings will shared with the industry for wider comment prior to sign off later this year by relevant government regulatory bodies.

These include: the UK Commissions for Employment and Skills in England, The Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department of Education and  Lifelong Learning in Northern Ireland.

Businesses or individuals wishing to take part in the NOS review are asked to register their interest by emailing Megan Percival at the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink at zrtna.crepviny@sbbqnaqqevax.afnpnqrzl.pb.hx​ no later than Friday 24 July 2015.

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