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Summit to mark launch of new food qualification

18 November 2010

Productivity, sustainability and training will top at the agenda at a major summit to discuss the application of lean manufacturing in the food and drink industry

The Increasing Productivity in the Food and Drink Sector conference is being hosted by Improve and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink at the BIS Conference Centre in London on 3 December.

As well as exploring current practice and thinking on lean manufacturing in the food and drink industry through a series of keynote speeches and workshops, the event will mark the launch of Improve’s new Food Manufacturing Excellence (FME) qualifications.

The FME qualifications have been designed in close consultation with employers to support the introduction of lean manufacturing, sustainability and productivity improvement techniques into the workplace. Their introduction is supported by £2.4 million of new government funding available to help employers cover training costs through the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.

Justine Fosh, director of skills solutions at Improve and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, said: “Driving increased productivity and efficiency is one of the greatest challenges facing the UK’s food and drink manufacturing industry.

“This event will give the industry an opportunity to take a breath and discuss in depth what role lean manufacturing and associated approaches have in boosting performance and making businesses more sustainable in the long term, sharing best practice and latest thinking.

“Training and skills development is a very important aspect of improving the overall performance of any business and the FME qualification is a very exciting development. It is the first of the new suite of Improve Proficiency Qualifications (IPQs) to be launched, which are in turn the first work-based qualifications designed and developed solely to meet the needs of the food and drink industry.

The FME qualification adds a new dimension to the arsenal of resources available to food manufacturers looking to achieve operational excellence through the implementation of sustainable, lean practices.”

The FME qualification was developed in consultation with companies including Swizzells Matlow, Heinz, Warburton’s, Kensey Foods and Coors Brewery. The aim was to translate the principles of lean manufacturing and sustainability into a flexible qualification which was directly relevant to the practicalities of strict food and drink improvement standards.

Tony Salt, training and development manager at Swizzels Matlow, piloted the training earlier this year and praised its impact on the business. “FME is the future for food manufacturers,” he said. “In the way that it is flexible and totally adaptable to individual companies’ strategies, it marks a step change in the control employers have over training and qualifications.”

The Increasing Productivity in the Food and Drink Sector Conference takes place at the BIS Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street, Westminster, London on Friday, 3 December. To book your free place, contact Will Bales on 01904 754734 or e-mail will.bales@improveltd.co.uk


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