Bosses of food and grocery companies are going back to school to help students understand how lessons learnt both in and out of the classroom can help them as they move into working life.
Grocery leaders across retailing and manufacturing, including Asda’s Andy Clarke and Mondelēz’s Mary Barnard, are taking part in IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future Schools Programme to help 13 to 17-year-olds with the skills they need to find work. It’s the first time any industry has come together to provide a full spectrum of support, from schoolchildren right through to older unemployed people.
Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “While it’s great that unemployment as a whole is falling, the number of unemployed young people still remains high. That’s why we want to help young people before they leave school and older unemployed people by providing them with training to assist in their job search.
“We’ve launched a nationwide Schools Programme, following a successful pilot last year, to help children make the most informed choices when they start to think about their careers. It’s a great opportunity to hear directly and put questions to food and grocery company leaders. They’ll be talking about the wide variety of roles available in our sector, from advertising to marketing, to HR or finance. They’ll also highlight that students’ experiences both inside and outside the classroom, rather than their background or educational levels, are the key to helping them on their journey into working life.”
The programme is set to reach to 5,000 pupils by the end of November and will cover a variety of training which includes helping them understand:
- Transferable skills, by providing examples of how expertise at work can be developed at school and through extra-curricular activities
- The link between the subjects they are studying at school and how this can influence future careers
- How to write eye-catching CVs and deal with challenging interview questions
Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “The feedback to date has been excellent: nine out of 10 of the students who’ve taken part so far have told us that the workshops helped them realise how their skills and subject choices can be applied to the world of work. When I spoke to students at last year’s Pilot it was clear that they didn’t fully value the experiences they’ve developed at school, so we want to help them recognise that these skills are transferable to working life.
“Like the wider Feeding Britain’s Future activity, the Schools Programme brings the industry together in a co-ordinated way and is building on the activities by individual companies through their work with schools.”
The Schools Programme is part of IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future campaign, now in its fourth year and so far providing 40,000 training opportunities, to help young unemployed people with the skills training they need to find work.
Andy Clarke, IGD president and Asda chief executive, said: “The Feeding Britain’s Future Schools Programme is an important way for our industry to support the communities we live and work in. It is great to see so many companies supporting this initiative by working together to invest in our young people. As our economy recovers it is essential to invest in training and apprenticeships not only to ensure young people find employment, but also to protect the future of our industry. We anticipate building on what we expect to be a successful campaign led by IGD and encourage other sectors to participate in similar initiatives going forward.”
The following grocery bosses have so far confirmed they are taking part in IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future Schools Programme:
- Andy Clarke, Asda
- Charles Wilson, Booker Group
- Ken McMeikan, Brakes Group
- Leendert den Hollander, Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd
- Steve Murrells, The Co-operative Retail
- Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD
- Blas Maquivar, Mars Chocolate UK
- Angus Maciver, McCurrach
- Mary Barnard, Mondelēz International
- Chris Martin, Musgrave Group
- Gavin Darby, Premier Foods
- Tom Moody, Procter & Gamble
- Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s
- Ranjit Singh Boparan, 2 Sisters Food Group
- Graeme Pitkethly, Unilever UK & Ireland