Skills in the food and drink industry

Policy Position

The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. For our industry to grow and remain competitive in the global market place we need to attract the best talent and build a skilled workforce.

The challenge of an ageing workforce means that we will need 130,000 new recruits by 2024.

Although our industry welcomes entrants from a range of skills disciplines and individuals are able to join the industry at a variety of different entry points, it still however struggles to be viewed as a career destination of first choice.

Meeting the challenge

Our industry is committed to meeting this skills challenge through the collaborative action including:

  • FDF Apprenticeship Pledge - FDF currently has a pledge to treble the apprenticeship workforce in the food and drink industry by 2020. The new pledge will see the total apprenticeship workforce in the sector increase from 1% to 3%, building 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.
  • Taste Success – our careers campaign bringing to life a career in food and drink so that young people consider the industry as a career of first choice.
  • MEng and BEng Food Engineering Degree – a first for the UK that will create a pool of specialist engineers to meet the specific needs of the sector through industry-backed curriculum, work placements and guest lectures.
  • Our work with Sheffield Hallam University to develop a National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering to deliver industry relevant research, development and innovation solutions; skills & workforce development; and help to expose the Food Engineering students to state of the art facilities.

Last reviewed: 19 Jul 2016