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First of new food qualifications to be launched

12 March 2010

A new qualification designed to drive improvements in productivity and efficiency in the workplace is set to be launched in April

The Food Manufacturing Excellence qualification will be the first Improve Proficiency Qualification (IPQ) to be available to food and drink employers. IPQs are a new family of work-based qualifications being developed with employers by the food and drink sector skills council, Improve, for people employed in the industry in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Food Manufacturing Excellence qualification has been designed so that it can be adapted to suit any workplace improvement and training strategy to increase the performance of employees working in all roles and at all levels. The qualification is designed to be flexible so employers can implement it in a way that works best for them, It will support food and drink companies’ constant drive to boost performance in all areas of processing and manufacturing.
 
Its launch signals a change in the way vocational qualifications are delivered within the sector with a clear purpose of leading business improvements, increasing the bottom line and having a positive effect on staff motivation at all levels.

Employees from Swizzels Matlow and Kensey Foods will be the first to take the new qualification, which will be available at level two from April and levels three and four in May or June.

Derek Williams, Improve’s development director, said: “Improve has led the way in developing this qualification and after 18 months we are now in the final stages and concentrating on the finer details of how its principles and benefits will be implemented and delivered in the workplace.

“From the very beginning, Improve has been engaging with companies like Swizzels Matlow and Kensey Foods to ensure this qualification can fulfil the needs of employers and actually work to their benefit. These companies are ahead of the game and are now liaising closely with the Food and Drink Qualifications (FDQ) awarding organisation, which will be offering the qualification to the industry.

“The companies are working with FDQ to establish how employers can be assisted in deciding which employees would benefit from taking the qualification and which units will be most useful for them. The launch of this qualification is a testament to the success of Improve’s policy to involve employers in its development activity. It gives employers the flexibility to specify what they want their employees to do and know in order to improve overall performance, as well as to work with training providers to adapt their training to ensure it meets their needs. At the end of the process, employers have a workforce which has both the skills needed and recognised qualifications.

Tony Salt, training and development manager at Swizzels Matlow, said: “I believe that over the past six years, Improve has worked extremely hard to ensure flexibility and deliver bespoke training packages. Where a company already has a strong training culture, it is my belief that employers are best placed to select and conduct training for their staff. This qualification, in the way that it is flexible and totally adaptable to individual companies’ strategies, marks a step change in the control employers have over training and qualifications.”

IPQs are structured around a system of units of assessment, with each individual unit being based on the skills and knowledge needed to carry out a particular job role. Learners will earn and accumulate credits for units of assessment completed as they work towards a full qualification, which will be accredited according to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).


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