Food Supply Chain Facing Skills Gaps
A high proportion of workers in the UK food supply chain do not hold the right level of qualifications.
A report published by Improve, the food and drink skills council, looked at primary production, food and drink manufacturing and processing, food wholesale, food retail and hospitality. The report found that 79% of all employees in skilled trade roles in primary production and 64% of employees in management roles in primary production did not possess qualifications at the expected level.
The food supply chain is the UK’s largest employer, employing 3.7 million people nationally and contributing £412 billion annually to the UK economy.
Sukky Jassi, head of research and sector insight at Improve, said: “Across all sectors, we found consistent evidence that a significant proportion of employees in the industry do not possess recognised industry qualifications at the levels expected for their job role. This is particularly true of management and skilled trade roles.”
“While it has to be said food and drink is traditionally an industry that favours more informal, on-the-job skills development, so lack of qualifications doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of skills per se, the frequency with which leadership, technical and job-specific skills are cited by employers as priorities for development or as lacking in both their existing workforce and potential recruits backs up the perception that this an area that needs addressing.”
The report will be used to draw up plans for training and skills initiatives, as well as other measures to encourage sustainable food production by increasing competitiveness and resilience across the food supply chain.