Media release: Training taking off again – vital to the UK food and drink sector, says National Food & Drink Training

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NATIONAL Food & Drink Training (NFDT) , the specialist training arm of Scottish Bakers, has recommenced engagement with employers on the delivery of apprenticeships within the food and drinks industry across the UK, following a period of closure as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown measures.

The specialist training provider delivers apprenticeships in traditional craft bakery, food production and supervisory skills in England and Northern Ireland and a wider portfolio of Modern Apprenticeship programmes in Scotland where it works beyond the bakery sector into food and drink manufacturing, whisky, soft drinks, seafood and sea fish and dairy industries.

Indeed, in Scotland, the organisation has the enviable track record of recruiting well-over 400 apprentices each year, onto a range of bespoke apprenticeship programmes with above average completion rates.

Says Scottish Bakers chief executive, Alasdair Smith: “The COVID crisis brought all vocational training to a halt as we were unable to continue with our on-site company visits that make our programmes so unique.

“But with lockdown rules easing across the whole of the UK, we’ve been able to carefully restart delivery and have been pleased with the positive response received so far. In fact, we’ve even had raft of enquiries already from businesses looking to upskill their workforce – which is a great sign.”

With workplace apprenticeships recognised by the Scottish and UK Governments as an important way in which businesses can help to recover from the impact of the lockdown, NFDT is perfectly placed to support employers and their staff to build skills and resilience, and improve efficiency and productivity at this crucial time.

Training and quality manager, Scott Anderson, said: “Our experience of delivering apprenticeships over many years has proven time and again that investment in training delivers a range of positive outcomes for employers and employees alike: better staff morale, improved quality, less waste and higher productivity – to name just a few.

“And with funding available across the UK to support apprenticeships in businesses of all sizes it makes more sense than ever to look at recruiting an apprentice. In fact, training will definitely aid business recovery at this time!

“The funding rules and programmes are different across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland though, so it’s essential to ask for advice, and we can help with most questions.”

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said:

“Scottish Bakers deliver essential training opportunities across bakery, food and drink manufacturing, whisky, seafood and dairy sectors. I am pleased that as part of the phased approach to easing lockdown restrictions, this important engagement with employers has recommenced.

“Apprenticeships give individuals from every walk of life the opportunity to build the experience and skills that employers want to see. They also play a significant role in helping young people start a new career and in developing Scotland’s workforce. I encourage all food and drink businesses to consider the benefits of apprenticeships and training as we recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.”

In Scotland, Modern Apprenticeships are funded through Skills Development Scotland.

Gerry McBride, sector manager for the Food and Drink industry, said of the developments: “SDS is really pleased to see NFDT emerge from this unprecedented lockdown and begin to both deliver and recruit apprentices again.

“Apprenticeships are proven to be effective in supporting business resilience and growth, so it’s arguably more important now than ever to focus on workforce development.”

In England, NFDT is the preferred apprenticeship delivery partner of the Craft Bakers Association.

Director of operations, Karen Dear, said: “We’re delighted to see NFDT restarting their training services, as we’ve worked with them for many years and seen the benefits of their work, first-hand. For our smaller members, it’s also great to be able to advise that NFDT can now access funding to help them with their training which I know will be welcomed.”

Notes for editors:

Scottish Bakers has been supporting and protecting the interests of Scotland’s bakery trade for over 125 years.

Scottish Bakers core purpose is to promote and protect the interests of the trade: representing, advising and supporting all aspects of Scotland’s baking industry to ensure it remains competitive and equipped for growth.

It does this by providing the widest possible range of benefits that help its members sustain and grow their businesses including: skills development, technical information and assistance, competitions, sector intelligence, legal advice, financial discounts, and social and business networking.

Scottish Bakers manages both The World Championship Scotch Pie Awards and The Scottish Baker of the Year Awards each year to recognise and celebrate excellence in the sector.

But most importantly, Scottish Bakers belongs to its members, it is there for their benefit and is proud of its motto, ‘for the good of all’.

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