Spotlight on apprenticeships at manufacturing seminar

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

About 109,000 new food and drink manufacturing staff will be required over the next 10 years
About 109,000 new food and drink manufacturing staff will be required over the next 10 years

Related tags: Industry

Nestlé, Allied Bakeries and McCain Foods were among the food manufacturers taking part in a seminar today designed to persuade more food firms to hire apprentices.

The event, stage in Derby, was designed to showcase how apprenticeships were becoming more popular for businesses, said organiser the National Apprenticeship Service. Increasingly, apprentices were becoming appreciated as a key means of developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce, it claimed.

Other benefits of apprenticeships to food manufacturing businesses were said to be improved levels of skills, service, morale and productivity.

Taking part in today’s event, in addition to food manufacturers, were the National Apprenticeship Service and training bodies.

‘Apprenticeships can fill this gap’

Director of the National Apprenticeship Service Sue Husband said: “Employers tell us there is a skills shortage that is hampering their ability to grow or be more productive, a mismatch between what skills they need to compete effectively and what they have at their disposal. Apprenticeships can fill this gap.”

The government’s ambition is for 3M more apprenticeships during the course of this parliament, she added. “While many businesses are already reaping the benefits of apprenticeship – there is a need for more to get involved to fill the skills gap.”

Husband highlighted research from industry group the National Skills Academy, which revealed the UK food manufacturing sector will see a significant increase in managerial, professional and technically skilled jobs, alongside continued growth for front line production staff.

27,000 production staff

As workers retire, the food manufacturing industry will need to recruit more than 49,000 new skilled professionals and managers along with 27,000 production staff by 2022, according to Improve in March 2015.

About 109,000 new staff will be required over the next 10 years to replace retiring staff. That is despite a dip in the total number of people employed in the sector, due to increasing automation, new technology and efficiency gains.

“For the next generation of talent, the food industry should be firmly on the map as a career destination of choice for those choosing to study toward a rewarding job in a dynamic and highly innovative sector that’s home to some of the UK’s best known brands,”​ said Husband.

“Our event is aimed at encouraging businesses to look strategically across their workforce to see how apprenticeships can be fully embedded in a wide range of job roles and functions in light of future skills shortages. It is designed to inspire employers to grow their own talent by investing in apprenticeships.”

The event took place at the East Midlands Skyway Hotel between 8.30am and 12 noon today (October 2).

For more information about the business benefits of apprenticeships, contact the National Apprenticeship Service on 08000 150 600 or click here​. 

Meanwhile, for the latest jobs in food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs​.

Making food manufacturing a ‘career destination of choice’

“For the next generation of talent, the food industry should be firmly on the map as a career destination of choice for those choosing to study toward a rewarding job in a dynamic and highly innovative sector that’s home to some of the UK’s best known brands.”​ 

  • Sue Husband, National Apprenticeship Service

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