From education to employment

Improve, the food and drink sector skills council launches level 2 & 3 qualifications

People seeking to start or develop their careers in food manufacturing can boost their chances of getting ahead through new vocationally linked qualifications launching in September.

Following a major reform of qualifications driven by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, new courses are expected to be available that will lead to qualifications at Level 2 and at Level 3, initially from the awarding body City and Guilds.

Flexibility is the key to the new qualifications, which have mandatory core units that can then be built upon with additional units to develop an increasingly valuable qualification. At each level, students can gain initially an Award in Food Manufacture, which can then be expanded to a Certificate, and ultimately to a Diploma.

The qualifications are expected to appeal to young people looking for a relevant course of study before seeking their first job in food manufacturing, as well as to those of any age who are already working in the industry, and want to develop their careers by acquiring knowledge and skills that are complementary to, or add value to their existing jobs.

“This is another major step forward in the reshaping of learning and skills to meet the needs of employers,” said Jack Matthews, chief executive of Improve. “These qualifications will create new opportunities for people in the industry to learn how to make a bigger contribution while also increasing their own rewards from work. And they will also be a great boon for recruiters, who will be able to select candidates who can demonstrate measurable levels of theoretical and practical understanding of the industry.”

It is expected that employers in England will be able to obtain funding for the Level 2 qualifications through the government’s Train to Gain Initiative. Further information is available from the LSC by telephoning 0870 900 6800.

Detailed information about the new qualifications and about the colleges and other training providers offering courses will be published as soon as it is available through the new National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Manufacturing, which launched online on 28 June at:

The new qualifications have been designed by a forum of qualifications awarding bodies in consultation with Improve and employers, and they cover units of learning derived from the new National Occupational Standards for food and drink manufacturing, which have been painstakingly revised over the last two years by Improve, also in consultation with employers. Following the launch of the new qualifications by City and Guilds, two other awarding bodies, Food & Drink Qualifications and ABC Awards, are also reviewing vocationally linked qualifications based on the new units of learning devised for food and drink manufacture.

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