Jo gets a lesson in apple pressing at event to celebrate industry skills campaign


Jo Swinson MP for East Dunbartonshire has pledged support for a national skills initiative and is calling on East Dunbartonshire companies to get involved.  At a showcase event in Westminster to celebrate the IGD Feeding Britain’s Future campaign, Jo Swinson tried her hand at apple pressing and spoke to young people about what it’s like to work in the industry and the challenges they faced securing a job.  The event was to raise awareness of the benefits to taking part – both for young people and businesses.

Driven by food and consumer goods research charity IGD, working with JobCentre Plus, Feeding Britain’s Future is an initiative involving the entire food and grocery industry to help tackle youth unemployment.  As Britain’s biggest private sector employer, over 100 businesses from across the industry have pledged support for the campaign.

Across 1,000 locations this September 12,000 young unemployed people will be offered pre-employment training. Farming, manufacturing, retail, wholesale and foodservice – and other companies related to the food and grocery industry – will share their advice and experience and showcase the huge variety of careers in the sector during Skills for Work Month.

A successful week-long pilot in 2012 led 98% of young participants to be more likely to consider a career in the sector and feel more confident about applying for jobs. Of those surveyed, 99% rated the training as good or excellent.

There were real benefits for businesses that took part too: 14% of participating employers offered job interviews to the young people they met, and 18% offered work experience opportunities.

Commenting Jo said:

“I am pleased to support the Feeding Britain’s Future campaign to provide young people with an opportunity to develop skills in the food and grocery sector.

“Youth unemployment remains a major problem across the country and it’s important we do everything we can to get young people into work. East Dunbartonshire has some fantastic food and grocery businesses and this campaign is an opportunity for them to offer invaluable skills training to those who need it most. Employers who want to play their part can sign up at www.igd.com/feedingbritainsfuture .”

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive of IGD, said:

“The food and grocery industry is Britain’s largest private sector employer, accounting for one in seven of all jobs, employing 3.7m people. It is an industry in which it’s possible to run your own successful business or start from the bottom and get to the very top – even with very few qualifications.

“For the month of September we want as many small and medium sized businesses as possible to offer pre-employment training. This campaign is about the whole industry coming together – across the supply chain and in every corner of the UK.

“Even if you can just provide one session lasting a couple of hours and providing a few hints and tips on interviews, or a CV workshop – it all counts.”

IGD asked unemployed young people about the barriers to finding a job at a forum run by Populus last year. They revealed they lack the confidence to apply for jobs and want real life interview experience, for example, tips on making your CV stand out and presentation skills to help them get out of unemployment and into the workplace. Feeding Britain’s Future is designed to meet this need.

Young unemployed people interested in participating should speak to their JobCentre Plus adviser.

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Pictured: Kamil Peno, Co-operative Group, Jo and Colin Schenk, Co-operative Group

About IGD

IGD is the leading source of information and best practice on the consumer goods industry worldwide. It offers unparalleled understanding and insight, developed from extensive research programmes on global business issues and an ongoing dialogue with shoppers. It helps businesses to identify opportunities, improve performance and create a competitive edge.

With over 800 corporate members drawn from across the supply chain, it brings the industry together to address the issues that matter – whether it’s youth unemployment, clear labelling to help shoppers make healthy choices, or food affordability.

About the food and grocery industry

The grocery industry is the leading employer in the UK. It provides more than 3.7m jobs – that’s 14% of UK employment, or one in every seven jobs. There are more than 400,000 businesses in the UK food chain from start-ups to some of the largest global enterprises. 55% of employers will expand their training and development budget between now and 2020. In farming alone, there are around 316,000 farm businesses in the UK, providing 531,000 workforce jobs. Two-thirds of all new jobs are created by firms employing fewer than 100 people.

About Feeding Britain’s Future

As the UK’s largest sector employer, employing 3.7m people the food and grocery industry is playing a role in helping to tackle youth unemployment through Feeding Britain’s Future. Working in partnership with JobCentre Plus, young people will meet directly with businesses to receive free pre-employment training and an insight into the variety of careers available during Skills for Work Month this September.

The whole food supply chain, from farming, manufacturing and distribution to wholesaling, foodservice and retail, is supporting the campaign. So far over 100 companies have signed up and will throw open their doors during Skills for Work Month.  Last year our pilot programme – Skills for Work Week – offered 10,000 opportunities across 700 locations. This year it will be bigger and better.


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