Food and grocery industry to provide vital skills training for 15,000 of Britain’s unemployed

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The food and grocery research and training charity, IGD, has today announced the launch of a ‘School Pilot’, as part of its successful ‘Feeding Britain’s Future’ campaign which is now in its third year. The pilot will see major food and grocery companies go into schools to offer employability skills training to 13 to 17-year-olds and alert teachers to the variety of skills and opportunities available in the sector.

The initiative, spearheaded by IGD, will launch with new research revealing that Britain’s unemployed believe schools’ advice should be supplemented by major employers to offer information and guidance on the breadth of jobs available plus the range of roles to which their skills might be best suited. Participants felt they did not understand the core skills required to secure employment and even amongst the unemployed with experience, many did not recognise the transferability of their skills.

The research also found that views on the opportunities available within the food and grocery industry were polarised around working in supermarkets, with little awareness of the breadth of opportunities available.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “Despite the UK’s unemployment rate beginning to show some signs of improvement this year, we still have millions of people without work. As the UK’s biggest employer, the food and grocery industry is committed to playing its part in tackling unemployment but more than that, our research shows we need to respond to appeals from the unemployed to gain valuable insight into the roles available in this industry and specific skills required to find jobs in this sector.

“Feeding Britain’s Future is in its third year and doing very well but our research highlighted the importance of our industry also offering advice before pupils leave school. The new ‘School’ Pilot’ element of the campaign not only gives companies the opportunity to inspire pupils on the variety of skills and opportunities our industry has to offer, but to also equip the next generation with the skills they need to find work.

“Currently there are 611,000 job vacancies in the UK waiting to be filled and a large potential workforce who just need the right information to help to get those jobs. That’s exactly what our campaign is all about and our research highlights how incredibly powerful the industry can be at inspiring young people to consider the food and grocery industry as a career path.

“Nottingham has been selected as this year’s pilot city though we have ambitious plans to roll this out across the country in future.”

Last year’s nationwide campaign, working with the young unemployed resulted in 97% of participants feeling more confident about applying for a job and 89% more likely to consider a job in the food and grocery industry. Companies taking part in Feeding Britain’s Future Skills for Work Month will, by the end of this year, have offered 40,000 training opportunities for unemployed people across the country since the campaign’s inception.