FDF Apprenticeship Pledge

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) announced a pledge to treble the apprenticeship workforce in the food and drink industry by 2020.

Announced at FDF's President's Reception 2015, the new pledge will see the total apprenticeship workforce in the sector increase from 1% to 3%. The target builds on an existing pledge to increase the number of higher-level apprenticeships by 20% by 2020 and other sector-wide initiatives to address a looming skills shortage.

Why have we launched this pledge?

Our sector is currently relying on an ageing workforce to support growth and we must secure a sufficient pipeline of young people that could potentially be engineers, team leaders or managers for the future. Apprenticeships are also an important tool to 'grow our own' as we seek to become less reliant on migrant workers.

FDF's ambition will highlight the importance of Apprenticeships as a fantastic way of attracting talent and upskilling existing employees for the future, as well as bringing many benefits to businesses including increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a motivated workforce.

The industry is building on previous successes where apprenticeship numbers quadrupled in an 18 month period from 1,710 to 7,535 in England and Scotland by the end of 2012.

Apprenticeship Levy

In August 2015 Government announced its commitment to support 3 million apprenticeships by 2020. As part of this pledge Government announced the introduction of an apprenticeship levy to help fund their ambition. It represents a seismic change in the landscape of skills and for the business and public sector employers it brings both risk and opportunity

The apprenticeship levy will come into effect on 6 April 2017 and will apply to employers who have a pay bill above £3million. The Apprenticeship Levy is an important opportunity to help the food and drink manufacturing sector grow high quality apprenticeship numbers.

The Government has published an employer guide on how the Apprenticeship Levy will work.

Apprenticeship Trailblazers

What are Apprenticeship Trailblazers?

In 2013 the Government launched the Trailblazers initiative whereby apprenticeships are designed by employers to ensure that apprenticeships produce people who are fully competent and who meet clearly defined standards set by employers rather than by training providers.

A range of Trailblazers are underway in the food and drink industry. All are being led by groups of experienced representatives from food and drink businesses with the majority supported by the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink. You can follow the progress of each Trailblazer project here.

A new Trailblazer apprenticeship standard for Food Engineering & Maintenance has already been approved by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) after being set by an industry group supported by the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.

This is now being followed by Trailblazer apprenticeship standards for roles including:

  • Production Processing Manager
  • Skilled Technical Operative
  • Food Science Technologist
  • Technical Manager
  • Automated Plant Baker
  • Retail Baker
  • Artisan/Craft Baker
  • Advice for employers wanting to take an apprentices
  • What are the benefits to employers in taking on Apprentices?

If any members would like to be involved please contact caroline.keohane@fdf.org.uk for more information.

Advice for employers wanting to take on Apprentices

  1. Contact the National Skills Academy for food and drink (NSA) on 0845 644 0558 where your enquiry will be recorded including details such as company size; sub-sector e.g. meat, chilled, confectionery; and how many apprenticeships you wish to offer etc.
  2. Your enquiry will be forwarded onto a trained NSA skills consultant who will visit you in person to discuss the options available to you e.g. delivery in-house or through an external training provider.
  3. Based on an assessment of your business' needs, the NSA will then approach training providers on your behalf and source the right one for you.
  4. Take a look at the Government's Apprenticeship campaign 'Get In Go Far' for support for apprentices and employers.

What are the benefits to employers in taking on Apprentices?

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes specifically tailored to meet the skills needs of employers. By FDF working in partnership with the National Skills Academy for food and drink and the National Apprenticeship Service, you can benefit from:

  • reduced administrative burden as you are supported through the process of developing and implementing an apprenticeship programme;
  • optimised levy investment ensuring you have the ability to maximise your investment through the apprenticeship levy on high-quality apprenticeship standards;
  • developing high-quality apprenticeship standards that meet the needs of the food and drink manufacturing sector;
  • high quality training providers that have been hand-picked to meet your needs;
  • central measurement undertaken which will provide us with credibility as we celebrate our success and launch a PR campaign.


More Information

Last reviewed: 21 Jun 2016