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FDF calls on sector to sign up for apprenticeship pledge

01 November 2011

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is calling on food manufacturers to sign up to its pledge and contribute to increasing the number of apprenticeship opportunities in the food and drink manufacturing sector

On 27 October FDF, in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and the National Apprenticeship Service, hosted a workshop for food manufacturers to inform them of the benefits that apprentices can bring to their businesses, such as increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a motivated workforce.

When companies sign up to the pledge they will benefit from: reduced administrative burdens - FDF and its partners will support food manufacturers through the process of developing and implementing an apprenticeship programme; an optimised funding stream – we will ensure companies have access to the maximum funding available to upskill their workforce at all ages and levels; as well as access to high quality training providers to meet the needs of individual food and drink manufacturers.

At the workshop Kraft Foods apprentices Calum Marnock, FDF’s Apprentice of the Year, and Ben Larkin spoke about their first hand experiences of being an apprentice.

They were joined by Mike Hensman and Graham Briggs from the National Apprenticeship Service; Allan Wheelright, HR Director at William Jackson Food Group; Justine Fosh; Skills Solutions Director at the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink; Tim Hammond; Senior Assessor at Poultec Training Ltd; and Angela Coleshill, FDF’s Director of Competitiveness.

Angela Coleshill, FDF’s Director of Competitiveness, said: “The future sustainability of the food industry is highly dependent on the skills of its workforce and its ability to innovate. With over a third of the workforce due to retire in the next 5 years, and the current shortage of technicians, apprenticeships will be a key mechanism for the industry to attract talent for the future.

“There is certainly appetite for investment in skills, which is why FDF members are taking collective action to help us build a pool of talented apprentices that can be developed and deployed across the industry – building skills for the future.”

Vic Grimes, Divisional Apprenticeship Director - London and the South East, said: “The National Apprenticeship Service is pleased to be working with FDF and its members to create high quality Apprenticeships within the food manufacturing industry. Apprenticeships are a proven way to develop well-trained staff who are motivated, loyal and will grow with the business.”

Justine Fosh, Director at the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink said: “The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink is delighted to be supporting the FDF’s apprenticeship pledge. In the food industry, in the past apprenticeships have been seen as mainly relevant to engineering roles but this is simply not the case - there are now apprenticeships for the food sector that cover the whole range of job roles in the industry - from craft baker to continuous improvement manager, meat processor to milling operative.

“Through the FDF apprenticeship pledge we can assist any food business who wants to understand more or is interested in expanding their apprenticeship activity. In addition we can advise on which training providers have the necessary technical skills to support delivery from a network of over 65 food and drink specialist training providers.”


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