Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Wales’ food and drink sector still continues to thrive with plans in place to grow output for the sector by 30% to £7 billion by 2020. The sector has also recently received an extra £22 million boost offering new support to fulfil a number of business growth opportunities. So, why is there a lack of interest in careers across the sector? The answer is, there are a number of outdated stereotypes about the nature of the roles in the industry and not enough awareness or education on the career opportunities that are readily available across the sector.
To debunk this, we have come up with four different ways food and drink businesses across Wales can engage with people, including those who are young and unemployed, on the plethora of opportunities available in the industry, like technical support, marketing and HR. It’s not all factory and farm work after all.
We created Tasty Careers to change the way people look at careers in the food and drink sector with the hope of transforming industry recruitment. The site brings together industry career information and live industry vacancies all in one place. The interactive platform also works as an advice portal on study pathways, relevant qualifications, career paths and job opportunities with real-life case studies of relatable young people already making their mark in the industry.
This tool is just the first step in addressing the assumptions made when thinking about careers in the industry and serves to educate people on the variety of roles on offer.
As well as highlighting the variety of roles available across the industry, we believe it’s equally important to work with businesses and schools to educate them about alternative career opportunities and this is where our Tasty Tours programme comes into its own. As part of Tasty Tours, we work closely with Welsh food and drink businesses and local schools to help coordinate student visits into the premises of businesses to witness first-hand how dynamic and interesting the industry can be and what goes into making the food that we consume. This type of experience is a great way of introducing a new area of career options to young people that they may have previously never considered before.
But it’s not just about highlighting the opportunities available to young people or those within the education system, there are a number of roles that could be suitable for people with relevant skillsets or those who are not working but are keen to gain employment. Our Tasty Jobs programme aims to boost employment opportunities across local Welsh communities by training unemployed residents to work in the food and drink sector.
The scheme is tailored based on the specific skills needed to succeed in individual roles. The aim is to provide training for those to actually ‘do’ the job. This is to ensure people are gaining the relevant skills to go straight into work as opposed to collecting a set of skills that might not necessarily make them employable.
To tackle the lack of interest for careers in the food and drink sector, we’re supporting an industry pledge that aims to improve the perception of careers that are available across the sector. The Skills Pledge encourages businesses to act as an industry ambassador to improve the image of the industry, host a school tour at their business premises, or commit to upskilling existing staff.
By undertaking the pledge, businesses have the potential to really make a difference both locally and nationally for food and drink industries.