The Welsh Food and Drink industry sis one of Wales’s largest business sectors. Over 223,100 people are employed within the whole food and drink supply chain.
Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020 was launched in summer 2014.
The Action Plan recognises the difficulty within the industry to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Therefore, one of the key themes of the Action Plan relates to Education, Skills and Training and in particular focuses on -
- Developing a skilled and capable workforce through developing key partnerships in the ‘skills supply chain’ by engagement with Secondary and Higher Education, manufacturing businesses and stakeholders interests.
- Address skills gaps across the Food Supply Chain through devising/revising training and skills programmes.
- Create awareness and promote careers in the food supply chain.
- Tasks the Food Board with raising the profile of food industry careers
To achieve this, a number of initiatives are now in place to facilitate entry into the industry;
The Tasty Careers website funded by Welsh Government provides an education and careers route map for new entrants to the industry.
The Skills Gateway
The Skills Gateway provides skills development support for Welsh Businesses which includes apprenticeship programmes and Jobs Growth Wales.
SkillsCymru is a Welsh careers and skills event, located in Cardiff and Llandudno and attracting up to 10,000 people each year. At SkillsCymru young people and students can get involved with interactive features, hands-on demonstrations and challenging activities. Visitors can learn about the huge range of careers, training and advice available in Wales, catch a glimpse into what their future career could be and gain a real insight into what that would be like. With hands on activities and skills taster sessions, SkillsCymru aims to inspire and motivate visitors considering their future careers. The SkillsCymru events welcome thousands of students, all of whom can meet an exciting range of exhibitors from key industry sectors across Wales. Exhibitors provide training and education advice and a selection of interactive and engaging skill-based games and activities.
Invest In Skills : Invest in Growth Conference Presentations
Improving skills and addressing skill shortages within the industry is also a priority. A range of initiatives have been put in place which include –
Food Drink Wales Industry Board Approach
To address some of the issues faced by the industry in developing and recruiting a skilled workforce the FDWIB and Welsh Government are planning two skills conferenced for Autumn 2017. These will bring together industry and skills providers from across the spectrum. The conferences will provide an opportunity for all involved to understand what is currently on offer and to identify where further development is needed.
Beyond the skills conferences WG and FDWIB are developing a food and drink skills strategy.
The FDWIB have identified “People & Skills” as a priority work area and has a work stream dedicated to focusing on this.
The Food Centres
Food Innovation Wales has extensive experience of gap analysis in skills within the sector and provides the most comprehensive range of technical courses and educational qualifications in Wales with a portfolio ranging from basic food hygiene courses through to degrees and higher degrees in food science and Food Industry Management as well as PhD’s. In the past year over a thousand workers in the food industry have received training from staff at the Food Innovation Wales centres.
Industry Skills Partnerships
Three Sub-Sector Industry Skills Partnerships (ISP’s) have been set up to drive strategic skill-development to support productivity and growth. The ISPs cover the Dairy Sector, Engineering Maintenance & Food Science and Bakery & Confectionary.
Industry partnerships will put food and drink companies in a lead position in determining the specific programmes, interventions and provision required to deliver the skills needed for productivity and growth.
Led by ‘Sub-Sector Industry Leads’ who will inform the ‘Food and Drink Wales Industry Board’ on necessary skills activity to support the overarching growth aspirations of the Action Plan.
Sub-sectors will unite to identify shared skills issues so that demand can be clarified, aggregated and prioritized. This will enable a clear picture of what key businesses and sub-sectors as a whole need in terms of skills support, including delivery mechanisms and techniques. Where necessary, new programmes can be developed that add value and support growth.
Demand can then be mapped to the current capability of leading food training organisations throughout the UK to establish and mobilise suitable provision. A picture will also immerge for where and how provision should be developed in Wales to ensure the training market is fit for purpose and industry driven.
Regional Skills Partnerships
Regional Skills Partnerships are in place to drive investment in skills by developing responses based upon local and regional need.
The Regional Skills Partnerships are:
- Regional Skills Partnership North Wales
- South East Wales Learning, Skills and Innovation Partnership
- South West and Mid Wales Regional Learning and Skills Partnership
Regional Skills Partnerships (RSPs) are tasked with analysing economic challenges and likely growth areas to identify the skills needed in the workforce.
They produce Regional Employment and Skills Plans to analyse and influence the provision of skills based on regional economic need, to support growth and key infrastructure projects in each region. The Regional Employment and Skills Plans build on and support priorities identified by Enterprise Zones, City Deal, City Regions and cross border collaborations.
The plans provide recommendations to Welsh Government to influence the prioritisation and deployment of skills funding. In 2016-17 they will impact on Apprenticeship and Further Education allocations. The plans will be refreshed annually from July 2016. It is intended that the plans will reach a far wider audience in coming years, expanding their influence across Welsh Government and the skills delivery infrastructure.
Culinary Association of Wales
Culinary Association of Wales is a partnership of professional chefs, caterers and others associated with the food and hospitality professions, who foster relationships with all parts of the food chain including primary producers, manufactures and suppliers as well as educational establishments, to develop and raise the culinary profile of Wales, its establishments and those working within them. The Association develops chefs and caterers through training, competitions, demonstrations and visits and facilitates the sharing and exchanging of skills, ideas, culinary expertise and knowledge.
Food Business Investment Scheme
The Food Business Investment scheme is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
The scheme provides grant support for capital investments by food processing businesses using raw and processed agricultural products.
Education, Training and Skills is one the key scoring criteria for the Food Business Investment Scheme, whereby, applicants must demonstrate how future investment will show their commitment to a trained workforce and the Continual Professional Development of their employees.
Rural Business Investment Scheme
The Rural Business Investment Scheme - FOOD (RBISF) is a capital investments scheme to support projects that offer clear and quantifiable benefits to the food and drink industry in Wales. The £3.2m scheme is open to existing and start up micro & small food and drink processor’s and manufacturers throughout Wales.
This is a capital investment scheme for food and drink processing or manufacturing activities currently not eligible under the Food Business Investment Scheme.
The maximum grant for an individual investment project is 40% of the total eligible cost with a maximum of £50,000 for any individual investment project.
All projects supported through the scheme must make a contribution to the overarching Food Strategy Action Plan – Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2010 -2020 with one or more of the following objectives:
- promoting and developing a growing and vibrant food and drink sector in Wales
- continuing to develop a green image based on sustainable production methods
- further building resilience into the industry to withstand market changes
- driving improvements in food safety and security
- promoting technological innovation in both product and processes
- providing career opportunities at varying skill levels.