Getting ready for Brexit: Food and Drinks Manufacturing

Combine the automotive and aerospace sectors and you start to understand the scale of Food and Drink Manufacturing. It is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with the supply chain contributing a staggering £110 billion to the economy and employing over four million people.*

The people working across this supply chain are essential to what we UK consumers eat and drink. So whatever Brexit holds, this sector is preparing itself for change, especially when it comes to the recruitment and retention of staff.

Workforce development

Around one third of the workforce in the UK Food and Drinks Manufacturing sector are European migrant workers. Both workers and employers are concerned about stability and workforce supply. Given that the food and drinks industry needs to recruit over 100k new employees by 2022, a significant step change is needed across the UK to develop home-grown talent and to tackle structural barriers that prevent the sector from securing skills.

Brexit, together with the introduction this year of the Apprenticeship Levy, means the time is right for apprenticeships to become the main focus for meeting the skills demands of this sector.

At least 75% of all apprentices stay with their employer at the end of their apprenticeship, and larger employers now have the opportunity (and the obligation) to develop and deliver bespoke apprenticeship programmes that will really benefit their business.

Many manufacturing apprenticeship training programmes focus on Lean/Continuous Improvement techniques. So the benefits of apprenticeships are broader than simply talent recruitment. Increasingly, larger businesses are working with specialist apprenticeship partners – like Cidori – to design programmes that bring about significant business process improvements which impact their bottom bottom line through the reduction of waste, increased motivation and productivity of staff, and greater profits.

No, the EU is not bananas

Think of food standardisation and the EU and we can’t help but think of straight bananas. However, EU standardisation has protected both consumers and workers in the food and drinks industry. Standardisation has guaranteed safe, healthy and fresh food and protection from unscrupulous practices.

Whether or not food and drinks standardisation and regulation changes significantly post Brexit, the food and drink industry will benefit from a Lean approach. Lean standardises procedures, eliminates waste and saves money. All these things are essential for any business to succeed at any time. Brexit or no Brexit.

Major food suppliers such as Sainsbury’s, Walkers, M&S and many more have achieved huge reductions in waste and improvements in process efficiency. Last year M&S won the British Quality Foundation (BQF) Lean Six Sigma Academy Award for their continuous improvement projects including automated stocktaking and improving the speed of transactions at self-service tills.

Find out more

Cidori’s Client Business Director Robin Clarke is speaking at this year’s Food and Drink Business Europe IT Conference at the Ricoh Centre in Coventry on 7 November.

This event looks at trends across the food manufacturing, retail and food service sectors: from improving traceability and consumer trust to transforming productivity.

More information on his talk: Why apprenticeships are essential for UK Food & Beverage Manufacturers to continue to develop the skills for future talent can be found on the conference website here.

Cidori can develop bespoke Apprenticeship solutions for any business or sector. If you are looking to recruit talent and provide the most efficient and effective service to your customers, then we can help.

Examples of our current Food and Drinks Apprenticeships programmes include:
















Our workforce apprenticeships programme is developed and delivered in partnership with RoTAP accredited Gateshead College.

Our food and drinks clients include:

To discuss how Cidori can help your business improve, transform your learning and increase the opportunities available, contact:

David Murfitt
01788 851230

Useful links

Gateshead College
City and Guilds
Food and Drink IT Summit

*source: Food and Drinks Federation


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