Media release: Bakers’ training body extends partnership with Belfast Met to deliver food and drink apprenticeships


AS the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt, the need to build in business resilience by investing in future skills is vital for a healthy economy.

So, National Food & Drink Training (NFDT) – the training arm of trade association Scottish Bakers – is delighted to announce that it is extending its partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College to deliver much-needed food and drink apprenticeships in Northern Ireland.

With financial support available to employers from the Department for the Economy (DfE), through their Apprenticeship Recovery Package for Northern Ireland, there has never been a more appropriate time to commit to training.

The financial support available will channel investment into local businesses to help the apprenticeship system respond to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis by supporting skills development.

With the hospitality and food service sectors hit so badly at this time, developing craft and supervisory skills in bakery, food manufacture, food production and its supply chain is crucial to the future success of the sector in the long-term.

Apprentice Return Scheme

The total amount payable under the scheme will be a maximum of £3,700 per apprentice, distribution as follows:

  • Return - £500 per returned furloughed apprentice payable for the first full month of paid apprenticeship  from 1 November 2020
  • Retain – maximum of £2,000 available: £500 per month for up to four months of paid apprenticeship between 1 December 2020 and 31 March 2021
  • Result - £1,200 for successful full framework achievement of a returned furloughed apprentice

Recruitment of New Apprenticeships

This incentive is available to all employers to support the recruitment of new apprentices. As an employer, you will be eligible for up to £3,000 for each new apprenticeship opportunity created from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021. This bonus will apply to all new apprenticeship opportunities and includes apprentices who have been made redundant:

  • Payment 1 – £2,000 after 90 days retention following start* of new apprenticeship
  • Payment 2 – £1,000 after 200 days retention following start* of a new paid apprenticeship

For full details visit the NI Business Info website.

NFDT delivers three frameworks suitable for Northern Ireland’s Food and drinks sector.

Each framework consists of a core pathway and essential skills element and both must be achieved, in order for the apprenticeship to be completed. Pathways we support in Northern Ireland are:

Baking Industry Skills (Level 2)

This qualification is designed for learners who wish to develop occupational skills and knowledge in the baking industry.

Food Industry Skills (Level 2 and 3)

This qualification is designed for learners who wish to develop occupational skills and knowledge within manufacturing/production sites of the Food & Drink sector. The higher level is designed for those looking to progress into a supervisor/manager role and aids skill development in that role.

Food Manufacturing Excellence (Level 2 and 3)

Food Manufacturing Excellence (FME) offers those working in food manufacturing or the supply chain environment, the ability to implement a sustainable, continuous improvement programme for the workplace.

Essential skills development in literacy and numeracy form an integral part of the frameworks and will be completed in conjunction with each pathway.

NFDT’s Training and Quality nanager, Scott Anderson, said: “We work with some of Northern Ireland’s biggest and most successful bakery businesses, but we also have widespread experience in Scotland and England of working with leading food and Drink manufacturing businesses.”

Chief executive of Scottish Bakers, Alasdair Smith, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted food and drinks businesses across Northern Ireland.

“As we chart our pathway through the ongoing restrictions, it has never been more important to support the development of the workforce and the funds available to support apprenticeships will make a real difference. We’re delighted to be extending our partnership with Belfast Met and stand ready to receive enquiries about how to progress training from employers.”

Aidan Sloane, head of Skills and Apprenticeships at Belfast Metropolitan College, said: “We’ve worked with NFDT for many years, delivering apprenticeships into local bakeries, and we’re delighted to be able to work with them now to extend this provision to other parts of Northern Ireland’s food and drink manufacturing sector. We’d urge businesses to get in touch to find out how they can take advantage of this new opportunity.”

Case studies and testimonials can be found by visiting us on the following link:

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’.

NFDT has over 20 years’ experience in the delivery of work-based learning.

NFDT was created in April 2015 with the aim of widening the scope of Scottish Bakers’ training arm to offer workplace training solutions for the whole food and drink sector throughout the UK.

NFDT courses are designed to help the food and drink industry become more competitive and sustainable by developing the skills and knowledge of its workforce. They are supported by a wide range of support materials, including an online food and drink training academy.

Belfast Metropolitan College is recognised as the largest Further and Higher Education College in Northern Ireland and is one of only 30 colleges in the UK to join the influential 157 Group.

Founded in 1906 and with over 12,300 Learners and over 22,000 enrolments, Belfast Met works at a strategic level in providing education, training and skills to enhance individual, community and economic success:

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