Programme aims to close skills gap in food and drink sectors

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

A pilot programme backed with investment of £59,000 is being launched in Scotland in a bid to tackle the skills gap in the food and drink sectors.

Research has shown there is a gap in supervisory and management skills for those working in the sector, said Skills Development Scotland (SDS), one of the organisations behind the initiative. If successful, the scheme could be rolled out nationally as a way of combatting the skills shortage in the food processing industry.

Flexible programme

The project will offer a flexible programme of training modules as it aims to fill the skills shortage for sectors that generate over £9.5billion per year for Scotland’s economy. As well as SDS, it is being partnered by Improve, Lantra and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

The pilot will involve 100 trainees from the meat and poultry, aquaculture and whisky sectors and use courses at a range of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels in order to test the idea.

It’s crucial we continue to invest in and support the food and drink industry to overcome any skills challenges,”​ said Gerry McBride, strategic relations manager for Skills Development Scotland. “Businesses need to develop and train more experienced staff to become effective supervisors and managers.”

Minimising bureaucracy

QMS is managing the project on behalf of the wider food industry.

“This new approach for supporting vocational training should better meet the needs of both food companies and the public sector,”​ said Andy McGowan, QMS head of industry development. “If the pilot proves successful, we hope it can be rolled out nationally to give us a practical industry-led system for supporting training, providing the public with value for money whilst minimising bureaucracy.”

Companies are being recruited on a first come, first served basis and should contact Quality Meat Scotland or their trade association for further information.

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