Now in its fifth year, IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future initiative was supported by 2,000 volunteers from almost 300 food and drink companies from across the UK.
It comprises two main parts, The Schools Programme and Skills for Work Month, which showcases the range of jobs available in the industry and helps develop key employability skills, such as communication, teamwork and decision-making.
The Schools Programme saw industry leaders visit schools to talk to year 9 and year 12 pupils about the skills needed in the workplace and careers available in the food and drink sector.
Volunteers included Mars Chocolate UK president Blas Maquivar, Premier Foods ceo Gavin Darby, Warburtons md Neil Campbell and 2 Sisters ceo Ranjit Singh Boparan.
Through Skills for Work Month, 18–24 year-olds and the wider unemployed gained insight into the food and grocery industry and left equipped with practical skills to support their job search.
2 sisters gave 350 learning opportunities to young, unemployed people across the country in October as part of Skills for Work Month.
Companies ran workshops on topics such as tailored CV advice and tips on applying for jobs online. In 2016, Skills for Work Month supported 9,500 unemployed people nationwide.
‘Largest private sector employer’
Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said:“Our industry is 3.9M strong, making it the largest private sector employer. Feeding Britain’s Future brings the industry together to inspire the next generation.
“We can’t do this alone. Over 2,000 volunteers from nearly 300 companies have supported our two main programmes and we are making a real impact on thousands of young people who are considering their future.”
Meanwhile, it is estimated that the food and drink industry needs about 170,300 new workers by 2020 to help it meet growing demand.
National Skills Academy for Food and Drink chief executive Justine Fosh told delegates at this year’s Foodex in April that the latest shortfall in skilled workers was likely to be revised up from 107,000 to about 130,000 people by 2025.