Government backs new food and drink skills partnership
Published:  03 October, 2014

The government has backed the creation of a new business-driven Industry Skills Partnership for the entire food and drink manufacturing sector in England, according to the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink.

The government has announced its support, with £2 million of funding for the partnership between employers and trade bodies, which aims to develop food and drink manufacturing skills.

The funding comes after a successful application from the industry as part of government’s Employer Ownership of Skills initiative. The project will see leading businesses such as Thorntons, Nestlé, Premier Foods, Britvic, 2 Sisters and Arla working together with trade groups and retailers.

Justine Fosh, CEO of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with government and businesses from across food and drink manufacturing to support growth in the sector through investing in skills.

“We look forward to welcoming active participation from business leaders representing every corner and facet of the industry – companies large and small – in designing and driving forward the future skills agenda on which the future of the industry depends.”

The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink said the partnership will bring together organisations from across the food and drink sector in a drive to boost skills and improve the quality and relevance of training, placing employers firmly in the driving seat when it comes to developing the workforce of the future and driving growth.

Jonathan Hart, chief executive of Thorntons, said: “For too long we have been regarded as a ‘sector of sectors’ spread across areas such as bakery, beverages, confectionery, dairy, meat and seafish – yet we all share similar skills shortages and training and recruitment gaps.

“The truth is we are one industry. Through the Industry Skills Partnership, we can unlock the enormous potential to accelerate our own individual commercial success and enhance the industry’s position as a major contributor to the country’s long-term economic fortunes.”