The Skills Challenge

Food and drink manufacturing faces a talent shortage, with over a third of its workforce due to retire by 2024 and insufficient skilled candidates to fill these roles.

Although apprentices in this industry are typically highly qualified, numbers are low at less than 1% of the industry workforce.

Gaps in key areas:

Engineering
Engineering technicians; machine automation
Technical
Food scientists & technologists; product development
Innovation
Including packaging technology
Leadership
Communication, managing change, coaching, goal and vision setting
Customer management
This is increasingly important in light of the changing retail environment and shifting consumer values

Barriers to securing these skills are often a combination of three things:

Competition
Strong competition for STEM skills, exacerbated by the fact that the UK is not producing enough STEM graduates (especially food technologists and engineers).
Location
The remote location of manufacturing plants, with food and drink manufacturers spread across the UK.
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The industry suffers from low levels of awareness of how dynamic and fast paced it is and the wide range of fulfilling careers on offer.