FOOD AND FARMING Minister George Eustice, MP, has urged food and drink manufacturers to inspire students to choose a career in hospitality.
This call comes after Eustice was given a tour of McCain Foods’ Whittlesey factory in Peterborough as part of National Apprenticeship Week. The Minister spoke to engineering apprentices on site about their roles at the company and National Apprenticeship Week, then joined McCain foods and Food and Drink Federation to discuss the importance of apprenticeships within the food and drink sector.
He also proposed sending young people who are already enrolled on apprenticeship programmes into schools to talk to pupils about the opportunities available in the hospitality sector as part of a new approach to careers advice.
Speaking about the opportunities available in the food and farming sector Eustice said: “From food production to science and engineering there’s a variety of career opportunities for young people to take up across the food and farming sector.
“I’m working closely with industry to support new entrants so they can get the skills and experience they need through new courses and improved apprenticeship schemes.
“All successful industries need new people coming in with fresh thinking and the food and farming sector is no exception.”
The visit was one of many activities last week following the publication of the food and drink industry’s Trailblazer standard for engineering apprenticeships. To mark the occasion, members of the Food and Drink Manufacturing Trailblazer group were invited to attend a reception at No.10 Downing Street to showcase apprentices’ contribution to UK businesses.
Melanie Leech, Director General at Food and Drink Federation said: “This week has been jam-packed with activity and a visit like this is a great way to showcase the importance of skilled workers within our industry.
As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, we recognise that to remain competitive and innovative, we need to attract the best talent. Apprenticeships are a great way to ensure the sector has a skilled workforce for the future. Not only will the company gain a valuable staff member with the talent to make a difference to the business, but the apprentice also gains the confidence, ambition and sense of value which goes hand-in-hand with earning a recognised qualification, inspiring loyalty and the drive to take their career further.”
Currently, the food and drink industry is predicted to need over 150,000 new recruits in the next six years so far it has already increased its number of apprenticeships from 1,500 in 2011 to 7,500 in 2013 and this is set to continue.