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 in the UK.

According to a  Food & Drink Federation recent report, this sector contributes some £28.2b to the economy annually and employs some 400,000 people. It therefore represents a key component of the nation’s ‘farm to fork’ food chain that is crucial to our prosperity and wider economic interests.

So whatever (whenever) Brexit holds, this sector is wisely preparing itself for change, especially when it comes to recruitment, upskilling and retention of staff.

Workforce development

Around one third of the workforce in the UK Food and Drinks Manufacturing sector are continental European workers. Both workers and employers are concerned about stability and workforce supply. Given that the food and drinks industry needs (according to one estimate) to recruit over 100,000 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 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.

Major food suppliers have achieved huge reductions in waste and improvements in process efficiency – M&S for example are previous winners of 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

Embedding such ‘mindsets’ and beneficial ways of working is what drives us at Cidori – to this end we have worked with a number of key organisations in this growing sector to manage and deliver bespoke apprenticeship programmes that are making a real difference – as Jim Gaffney, Managing Director at Randall Parker Foods observed about the recent business improvements apprenticeship programme delivered in conjunction with Cidori and its College  Partners:

This programme has shown staff the challenges a company faces when making decisions on implementing new processes, including evaluating cost, barriers and the importance of adding value. Those [who are] not normally decision makers within the business have been given the opportunity to find solutions, alter processes and implement new procedures. A win-win for everyone.”

If you are looking to increase talent and provide the most efficient and effective service to your customers, then we can help –  our workforce apprenticeships programme is developed and delivered in partnership with Barnet and Gateshead College and to discuss how Cidori can help your business improve, transform your learning and increase the opportunities available, please contact:

David Murfitt
01788 851230

Useful links

Gateshead College
Barnet College

*source: Food and Drinks Federation

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