From education to employment

Flagship programme to help jobseekers into food and drink industry gets off to a flying start

A fast-track scheme designed to remove barriers to enter the food and drink industry has seen over 1,000 training opportunities created.

With vacancy rates in the sector reaching 7%, more than double the national manufacturing average, the Food and Drink Careers Passport is an industry-led initiative created to build a pipeline of talent and save firms time and money by speeding up interview shortlisting and induction, as well as demonstrating jobseekers’ commitment to working in the industry.

To mark National Careers Week, it can be announced that over 650 committed jobseekers have either started or completed their studies with a further 400 places still available, since the scheme launched in May 2022. More than 70 businesses have backed the scheme to date via support pledges, including guaranteed interviews. But with demand outweighing supply, the passport offers a practical way for companies to solve some of their workforce challenges.

The FDF’s head of industry growth Caroline Keohane said:

“The Careers Passport is a great tool. It creates opportunities, no matter where you are in your career – from young people entering the workforce for the first time, to experienced workers looking for a new challenge.

“With a footprint in every nation and region in the UK, food and drink companies are providing not only great jobs but rewarding careers. The Passport scheme is ready for even more food and drink manufacturers – both large and small – to take advantage, fill their vacancies and grow their business.”

Chief executive of the NSAFD Louise Cairns said:

“To date, we’ve had more than 200 Passport study licences donated by food and drink companies eager to find new talent and for every licence donated, we’ve match funded an additional licence to double the reach to 400 – but demand across the country is high and we’re keen to hear from more businesses that would like to get involved.”

Attaining necessary qualifications is a barrier to entering the industry for a range of roles, such as production operatives. The Passport provides access to a ready pool of pre-accredited, motivated new recruits at a time of chronic labour shortages

The Careers Passport, developed by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), has quickly established itself as a powerful new employability tool recognised by both leading businesses and government including Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Premier Foods, Mars UK, the Department for Work and Pensions, Ministry of Justice and the Welsh Government.

The associated courses leading to Passport qualification, registration and certification are purpose-designed by leading experts, regularly reviewed with industry input and delivered only via the NSAFD as the assurance of industry-accepted content and quality.

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