Food Manufacture Excellence Awards

2 Sisters boss: Trailblazers to make a ‘huge difference’

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drink federation director Food standards agency Food crime unit Industry Food industry

The Trailblazers apprenticeship programme will make a key contribution to attracting young talent into food and drink manufacturing, says 2 Sisters boss Janette Graham in this exclusive video interview, filmed after she won the Food Manufacture Personality of the year award.

“Trailblazers will make a huge difference to the numbers of people who get into the industry,”​ said Graham. “It will upskill the industry, as a whole, and professionalise it.”

The 2 Sisters boss urged the industry to be more active in appealing to a younger generation of potential recruits. “We need to get our message ​[about the benefits of a career in food manufacturing] into schools. We need to get the government on side to be selling that message.

“And we need to be selling ourselves as an industry.”

‘Selling ourselves as an industry’

A career in food and drink manufacturing was sometimes overlooked as a career because “a lot of attention was given to the aeronautical industry and the automotive industry”.

The video interview was filmed shortly after Graham received trophy at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (FMEAs) at The Hilton Park Lane, London. The trophy was presented by Sam Thompson of FoodManJobs​ and awards host, TV star Carol Smillie.

The Personality of the Year Award recognises the food and drink industry achievements of the business leader who has done the most over the past year to benefit his or her individual business or the industry in general.

The six nominees were chosen by the Food Manufacture Group editorial team. The winner was selected by a poll of independently audited circulation of more than 108,000 unique monthly visitors.

Six nominees

Graham won the award​ after beating off stiff competition from five other leading food industry figures, including the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit head of food crime Andy Morling and Food and Drink Federation director general, Ian Wright. See box for more details.

The 2 Sisters executive is leading the group tasked with developing the government’s new Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme for the food and drink industry. With the support of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, she has helped to co-ordinate the draft standards for three Trailblazers: operations, production and processing; food science and technology; and bakery.

Graham’s involvement comes on the back of more than 20 years’ experience of putting together learning courses throughout the UK – a number of which were while working as a consultant. She has also held senior training roles at Bakkavor and Baxters Food Group.

This year’s Venice­-themed FMEAs award ceremony took place on the evening of Wednesday, November 2, where the achievements of winners and finalists​ were celebrated. 

Meanwhile, read more about the Trailblazers programme here​.

Food Manufacture Personality of the year finalists

  • Tom Carroll, Graze, supply chain director
  • Colin Dennis, immediate past president of the US Institute of Food Technologists
  • Janette Graham, 2 Sisters Food Group technical learning and development manager WINNER
  • Andy Morling, the Food Standards Agency’s National Food Crime Unit head of food crime
  • David Potts, Morrisons chief executive
  • Ian Wright, Food and Drink Federation director general

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