The Herald Business - - Spon­sored Fea­ture -

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.

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