A group of industry professionals including large multinationals and SMEs have formed a “Trailblazer Apprenticeship Development Group”. Chaired by Bruce Funnell, Nestlé’s head of packaging – NPTC confectionery, a qualification has been developed and industry support is now needed.
Along with Nestlé, industry support has come from Premier Foods, Alexir Partnership, Smurfit Kappa, Addo Food Group, Fera Science and Bakkavor as well as Sheffield Hallam University.
“I am very passionate about attracting new talent – this is an amazing industry to work in,” said Funnell. “This is part of a wider issue. When young people have finished their A-Levels, there is no programme at all for packaging. Many in our industry just end up in packaging, unlike the US, France or Germany where there are programmes specifically for packaging professionals.”
Funnell added that the challenge for his peers has been to find new talent. An opportunity has come up allowing the industry to develop an apprenticeship for packaging professionals with the costs of training being covered by the apprenticeship levy, introduced last year.
“The challenge now is to get the course set up with universities,” he said. “There are already a number of companies participating and planning to recruit new, or train existing packaging professionals. However, we really want to reach out to other interested organisations to ensure there is a good cohort of students to go live.”
The ambition is to start the programme in 2019, provided that there is sufficient demand from industry to make it viable. The apprenticeship is designed to be suitable to develop packaging across a wide range of sector, not just food and drink. The development group has representation from sectors including pharmaceutical, pack design and manufacturing and the group has been supported by the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.
The draft standard can be viewed at www.nsafd.co.uk/news/packaging-isp-standard.
Article source: Packaging News