Food Minister visits Asda Belvedere, London, to support Feeding Britain’s Future

Heath at Asda store

Heath at Asda store

Today (5 September 2013) Food Minister David Heath MP visited the Asda store in Belvedere, London, to pledge his support for IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future – Skills for Work Month 2013. The Minister took part in a Feeding Britain’s Future Work Club held in store and heard from some of Asda’s young colleagues about the skills needed to succeed in the industry.

Feeding Britain’s Future, led by research and training charity IGD with the support of Jobcentre Plus, is the first initiative of its kind, giving young people access to farms, factories and stores, and firsthand knowledge of the skills needed for a career in the food industry or elsewhere. 

Over 160 businesses are participating in 1,200 locations covering every region in the UK. The campaign will provide 15,000 skills training opportunities.

Following the success of a pilot project in 2012, the food and grocery industry is calling on young people across the UK to sign up with their Jobcentre Plus adviser and take advantage of the voluntary scheme. Last year 98% of participants said they felt more confident applying for a job, and 93% said the training made them more likely to consider a job in the food and grocery industry.

As the UK’s largest private employment sector, providing more than 3.7m jobs, the industry is uniquely placed to offer young people the first step on their journey to a successful career.

Asda is holding more than 200 Work Clubs during September, including two at Asda Belvedere. Young people from the local community will have the opportunity to participate in CV and interview practice skills with HR managers, helping them develop their employability skills and improve their chances of getting a job.

The Work Clubs aim to improve soft skills and the participants also go on a ‘behind the scenes’ tour and hear from a colleague about their own journey into employment. They will see how the business is run and the wide range of careers available in the retail sector.

Andy Clarke, chief executive, Asda and vice president of IGD, said: “I’m passionate about developing young people to play their part in our industry’s future. We can make a real impact by investing our time and energy to inspire what could be our next generation of colleagues, suppliers or even industry leaders.

“Feeding Britain’s Future is unique in bringing the whole food supply chain together with a common goal to tackle youth unemployment. It’s an opportunity to work collaboratively to pass on our experience to the leaders of tomorrow.”

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, said: “Feeding Britain’s Future is about helping young people to understand the rules of the game. By offering valuable training in areas like CV writing and interview skills, we want to build confidence so they can compete in the jobs market.

“Young people who join us in September will be able to hear first-hand from industry experts about what it is that makes successful applicants stand out and how they too can sell themselves.

“We have a huge amount to offer, employing 3.7m people in a diverse range of jobs from food scientists and engineers, to the important people winning the battle on the front line providing great customer service in stores. In our industry people can genuinely progress from the shop or factory floor to the top of the business.”

Food Minister David Heath MP said: “The food and drink industry is immensely important part of our economy, worth £96bn and nearly 4 million jobs.

“If the food industry is to continue to thrive, it needs to attract employees with the right skills across a range of jobs from farming and manufacturing, to retail and food service. Feeding Britain’s Future is an important initiative which will help to achieve this.

“It’s vitally important that we make the food industry a more attractive career choice for talented, entrepreneurial young people.”