The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink and the Food and Drink Federation are calling on manufacturers of all sizes to back a new Careers Passport and help solve the chronic labour shortages that are hindering the industry.
The Food & Drink Careers Passport, set to be introduced later this spring in England and Wales, offers pre-entry accreditation to job hunters seeking entry-level roles.
The scheme speeds up interview short-listing and job onboarding, saving time and money for firms and fast-tracking eager and committed new talent into the sector.
It is designed to make it easier to find new recruits with Food Safety, HACCP, Health and Safety and Allergen Awareness accreditation, to provide a common industry standard and raise the profile of industry jobs.
Louise Cairns, CEO of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD), said: “The new passport is proof that holders will arrive at interview with core food manufacturing compliance certification.
“All passport holders have made a readily-evident choice to seek a career in food and drink and have put the work in to prove it. They’re engaged and eager to start.”
Head of Industry Growth at the Food and Drink Federation, Caroline Keohane, said: “The food and drink industry has a long history of hiring a wide-ranging and diverse workforce at all skills levels and we need that to continue if we are to build a strong pipeline of home-grown talent and develop our next generation of engineers, food scientists, marketeers and leaders.
“With around 500,000 vacancies across our farm-to-fork supply chain, we must fill these places with potential by matching talent to opportunity in all corners of the country.
“The Careers Passport is a practical, industry-led initiative to provide a means to accelerate recruitment in all communities – the next tool to levelling up the nation.”
A range of industry firms have already pledged support for the passport, including Premier Foods, Gressingham Foods, Glanbia Cheese, Greencore and Pukka Pies, with the NSAFD launching a dedicated website www.fdcp.co.uk for interested businesses to find out more.
Julie Harris, L&D Business Partner, Operations and Early Careers at Premier Foods, said: “The new passport scheme eases the path into new employment across all age groups.
“We see it as particularly relevant to engage with and encourage young talent and those from excluded groups into the sector.
“It provides exactly the kind of easily accessible, structured and supportive first step toward a worthwhile career that people want and appreciate.”
The Food & Drink Compliance Passport acts as a quick and easy way for employers to identify entry-level job candidates with pre-interview compliance certification in: Food Safety Level 2; HACCP Level 2; Health & Safety Level 2; and Allergens Awareness.
With input from leading employers, including industry subject matter experts, the NSAFD has ensured course content reflects the highest industry standards.
The NSAFD courses are already widely used and recognised across the sector so dropping them into an employability tool makes sense.
The Careers Passport will be carried out online ‑ enabling 24/7 access from any location.
Louise Cairns explained: “The primary aim of the passport is to boost committed new talent into the industry and cut down onboarding and induction time so new starters can quickly move forward to additional training or orientation specific to their role.
“Employers will be able to access a central database to check certifications in a couple of clicks – making shortlisting faster.
“There’s been strong interest in guaranteeing initial interviews to holders because of the value of attracting ready-certified staff but we think there’s a wide variety of beneficial ways employers can integrate the commitment and knowledge of passport holders into their recruitment process.”
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