A team of thirteen young people have been appointed to act as ambassadors to inspire a new generation of young people to work in the food and drink industry.
The project, being run by The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) is part of the ‘Tasty Careers Wales’ initiative, designed to promote Wales’ food and drink sector as a an attractive place to work.
Amanda Mohabir (23), Charlotte Cooper (25), Lloyd Appleby (26), Sam Chettleburgh (24), Thea Wilkinson (22), Victoria Miles (31), Kate Hanock (24), Stephanie North (24), Nicky Bowen (30), Richard Davies, Alex Cooper (23), Leigh Poxon (28) and Hayley Williams were nominated by their employers - Mulit-national company 2 Sister Food Group, Cardiff based Allied Bakeries and training provider Pembrokeshire Collegey, as well as Castell Howell, Dawn Meats and Hellan Bakery - to undergo ambassador training with NSAFD to help promote the food and drink industry.
After undergoing comprehensive training, the young ambassadors will now visit schools in Wales to speak with students about the career opportunities available in the food and drink sector. Employed in a variety of roles, from Operations to Engineering, the five young ambassadors will be able to give an overview of the sector and explain the routes they took to secure their own careers.
Food and drink manufacturing is one of the largest Welsh manufacturing sectors, worth £4.3billion. The sector employs 22,000 people, has a growth target of £7billion by 2020, and exports have increased by 82% in the last five years.
The Welsh food and drink manufacturing industry already employs more people than most other sectors, with 4,000 more new jobs predicted to be generated by 2020. However, the sector is facing the threat of a generational time-bomb as many people in senior roles are due to retire in the next five years. In order to plug the gap, the industry is under pressure to urgently recruit new talent.
The ambassador scheme is part of Tasty Careers Wales, an initiative launched earlier this year, which brings together industry career information and live industry vacancies to make them instantly accessible to young people and to help secure the next generation of food and drink manufacturing talent. The scheme is supported by a website – www.tastycareerswales.org.uk – which features straight-talking descriptions of typical job roles across nine different categories, including production operations, buying, engineering, bakery and marketing, as well as career progression routes and case-studies of featured ambassadors.
Schools who wish to book an ambassador to speak to their students should contact Lydia Edwards on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justine Fosh, Chief Executive of NSAFD, said: “We believe peer-to-peer education is the key to promoting the food and drink industry as an attractive place to work. There are some very exciting opportunities available, with clear paths for progression and attractive salaries and benefits. It’s vital that we attract the next generation of talent to our sector to safeguard its future.”