Foodex 2016

2 Sisters boss: ‘apprentices play a key role’

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sisters food group, Food and drink, 2 sisters food group

2 Sisters Food Group relies on apprentices to help plug the skills gap, according to its group technical learning and development manager, who helped frame the government’s new Trailblazer programme of apprenticeships.

“Apprentices are very important for 2 Sisters Food Group,”​ said Janette Graham, the manufacturer’s group technical learning and development manager, in this video interview filmed after Food Manufacture’s Big Video Debate on apprentices, filmed at Foodex.

We need to drive young talent into the business. We ​[the food manufacturing sector] have an ageing workforce, so we need to recruit people for the future”

‘Recruited young people’

Apprenticeships were a key means of ensuring food and drink manufacturers recruited young people to work in key sectors of the industry.

“We need to make sure we get the right people – particularly in areas where we find it hard to attract people,” ​said Graham. “Those areas included food technology, supply chain and engineering.”

The new Trailblazer programme of apprenticeships will make an important contribution to securing the next generation of talent.

“Within Trailblazers – in which I have been involved as chair on the operations side of things – we have an employer-led group that covers all areas of the food and drink industry,”​ added Graham.

‘An employer-led group’

Also taking part in the panel discussion – Apprenticeships: plugging the skills gap – were: Jon Poole, chief executive of the Institute of Food Science & Technology, Justine Fosh, chief executive at the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) and student Sam Higginson.

The NSAFD boss told the debate, staged on Tuesday April 19, that the latest shortfall of skilled workers was likely to be revised up from 107,000 currently to about 130,000 people by 2025.

Meanwhile, other Big Video Debates​ taking place at Foodex focused on food and drink crime​ and campylobacter.

Foodex took place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham between April 18 and 19. 

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