More than 100 young people have started paid work placements across the UK’s Food and Drink Manufacturing sector thanks to Kickstart support from The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The NSAFD and FDF were confirmed as a sector gateway for the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme earlier this year.
Kickstart, open to new recruits until March 2022, supports the long-term employment prospects of 16 to 24 year-olds – one of the age groups hardest hit by employment instability in the wake of Covid.
More than 30 major UK food and drink businesses, including Greencore, Saputo, Coca Cola, Nestle, and Premier Foods, have since signed up to offer six-month Kickstart placements via the Food and Drink Manufacturing gateway .
“Kickstart has provided a welcome new recruitment route into Food and Drink manufacturing careers that’s benefiting both young job hunters and employers alike,” said the NSAFD’s Louise Cairns.
“Sector interest is gathering pace as the economy bounces back from Covid and we’re currently working with employers to offer a further 300 placements in everything from front line operations to business administration areas such as finance, marketing, and sales.”
Among the first 100 successful Kickstarters is Aaron Maunders who has gone on to secure a full-time role in one of Coca Cola’s EuroPacific Partners’ Grocery Merchandising team after his initial placement in CCEP Talent Acquisition.
And the NSFD itself has recently taken on 24 year-old Kia Stanton-Smith as a full-time administration apprentice after a successful six-month Kickstart placement within the organisation.
“The wrap-around support programme we offer to both employers and Kickstarters is specifically designed for the Food and Drink industry. On completion, each Kickstarter recruited via the NSAFD and FDF gateway receives a food and drink “passport” confirming their readiness to take up a permanent job, including apprenticeships, in the sector.
“In the past, Food and Drink was often viewed as career ‘blind-spot’ for talented young people but Kickstart is helping shift the goalposts as they discover the sheer diversity of attractive careers in the sector,” added Cairns.