TAKING A BITE OUT OF THE PROBLEM
WHILE the food and drink industry is one of the UK's fastest moving and most innovative sectors, there is still a worrying level of skills shortages in key areas.
There is a huge challenge in upskilling the sector which traditionally employed workers with few formal qualifications.
In order to meet this challenge and make sure that employers have the worforce they need a tailored Scottish training project has been set up by Improve Ltd.
Set up in 2004, it is the Sector Skills Council for Food and Drink Manufacturing and Processing and part of the Skills for Business Network, sponsored by the Department for Education and Skills.
Improve Ltd has developed and produced Skills Xtra along with partners to bridge that gap and have identified key training providers for this vital new programme.
Skills Xtra provides a relevant Level 2 SVQ and core skills such as communication, problem solving, team working and numeracy.
With this is also tailored work experience and additional qualifications such as food safety, languages, website design or other relevant skills specific to their business area.
The programme was taken up by David Brown Training to work with the family food business Dean’s of Huntly.
Dean’s of Huntly, which produces a range of traditional Scottish shortbread and oatcakes for the UK retail and export market and employs around 150 people with a turnover of around £5m, was the first company to have employees successfully complete the programme in 2006.
“While only six of our young people undertook the course, benefits reached far beyond this group as their participation influenced and motivated their colleagues, many of whom would not have considered they had too much to contribute,” says Anne McArthur, HR Manager at Dean’s.