More than 50 food and drink companies have pledged to support a new program designed to give jobseekers a vital boost in their careers.
The Food and Drink Careers Passports will provide training and qualifications, in areas such as food handling and safety, to job seekers in England and Wales seeking entry-level positions.
Launched by the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the Careers Passport will speed up interview screening and job onboarding, saving applicants time and money. manufacturers and will accelerate the hiring of new talent in the sector.
There are currently 6.3 vacancies per 100 employers in food and beverage manufacturing, 50% more than the national average. This initiative is an important step to help the industry address its stubborn labor shortages and to help recruit essential workers to keep production flowing and goods on store shelves.
FDF Chief Executive Karen Betts said:
“The UK has a brilliant food and drink manufacturing sector, with businesses and sites in all parts of the country. We are the backbone of communities, employing almost 500,000 people who make the fantastic range of food and drink that anyone, anywhere in the UK can enjoy.
“But our sector is facing difficult labor shortages, in a wide range of roles at all levels. The Careers Passport is an essential part of the solution, creating a pool of local talent that will benefit our industry for years to come.
NSAFD Chief Executive Louise Cairns said:
“The UK Food & Drink Careers Passport represents a step change in the way the industry opens its doors to enthusiastic new talent. It’s proof positive that passport holders have made the choice to pursue a career in the restaurant business and have worked to prove it.
“More and more companies are recognizing the value that Passport offers, both for their company and for job seekers. Alongside the FDF, we have been delighted with the weight of industry interest and involvement to date and are confident that the official launch will make the Passport a familiar part of future recruitment strategies.
The online courses will allow job seekers to access their training wherever they are in the country and have been designed in close collaboration with companies to ensure that their content reflects the highest industry standards. .
The Food and Drink Careers Passport has already seen 57 businesses from across England and Wales lend their support. From large employers like Coca Cola, Mars and Britvic to small businesses like Mona Daries and Geary’s Craft Bakers, they see all the benefits the program will bring to their business.
Sharon Blyfield, Head of Early Careers and Apprenticeships at Coca Cola, said:
“Introducing the Food & Drink Careers Passport has allowed us to provide greater insight for those starting a career in the industry. To date, we have not only used it with our Kickstarters but also for those who join our graduate program.
“Over the next 12 months, we will be looking to extend this opportunity to our apprentices. Anyone who has had the opportunity to go through the passport modules will have a head start when applying and joining an organization in this sector.
To mark the launch of Career Passports, the NSAFD and FDF hosted a joint reception in Parliament where job seekers, manufacturers and MPs discussed ways to help the sector recruit new employees and to ensure the success of the program.
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