Apprenticeships and the food & drink sector: Insights ahead of the debate

The second day of Foodex will see a debate around apprenticeships. This discussion will consider the size of the skills gap to be filled, the effectiveness of the government’s Trailblazer apprenticeship programme in the food and drink sector and the impact of the Apprenticeship Levy. On the panel is Janette Graham, Group Technical Learning & Development Manager at 2 Sisters Food Group, we caught up with her ahead of the talk to get some insights. She had some thought-provoking statistics to share, here’s what she had to say…

Can you tell us one of the issues you hope to debate at Foodex?

The UK food industry is bigger than the automotive, aeronautical and pharmaceutical industries combined but frequently underperforms in the area of apprenticeships. Why is this? It is a topic I hope to explore further at the Foodex debate.

How far are we from meeting government targets on apprentices?

The government’s target is 3m apprentices and in order to meet this one apprentice needs to be hired every minute of every work hour between now and 2020.

Are there any other statistics the food industry should be made aware of when it comes to apprenticeships?

• We need to recruit 109,000 new employees to the food industry by 2022.
• At least 75% of all apprentices stay with their employer at the end of their apprenticeship.


You can hear more from Janette Graham at ‘Apprenticeships: plugging the skills gap’ on Tuesday 19th April at 11:30am. Alongside her will be fellow panellists, Michael Stones (Group Editor, Food Manufacture), Jon Poole (CEO, IFST), Sam Higginson (Student and IFST supporter) and Justine Fosh (CEO, National Skills Academy).