11th May 2010

£59,000 pilot to address food and drink industry skills gap

Skills Development Scotland, along with partners in the private sector and Quality Meat Scotland, will invest £59,000 in a pilot project to address the skills gaps in the food and drink sector in Scotland.

The food and drink industry is a major contributor to Scotland’s economy, generating over £9.5billion per year.

Research has shown there is a gap in relation to supervisory and management skills for individuals working within the sector.

The project has been developed, in partnership, by Improve, Lantra, Quality Meat Scotland and Skills Development Scotland and will offer a flexible programme of training modules.

The pilot will use courses at a range of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels in order to test the concept and will involve 100 trainees from the meat and poultry, aquaculture and whisky sectors.

Gerry McBride, Strategic Relations Manager, Skills Development Scotland, said:

“It’s crucial we continue to invest in and support the food and drink industry to overcome any skills challenges. Businesses need to develop and train more experienced staff to become effective supervisors and managers.

“This pilot provides a unique opportunity to trial bite size learning and evaluate it.”

An external evaluation scheduled at the end of the project will review the impact the training has had in terms of skills utilisation, improved working practice and impact on productivity.

Quality Meat Scotland is managing the project on behalf of the wider food industry.

Andy McGowan, Head of Industry Development, Quality Meat Scotland, added:

“This new approach for supporting vocational training should better meet the needs of both food companies and the public sector. If the pilot proves successful, we hope it can be rolled out nationally to give us a practical industry-led system for supporting training, providing the public with value for money whilst minimising bureaucracy.”

Companies are being actively recruited on a first come, first served basis and should contact Quality Meat Scotland or their trade association for further information.

Sign up for the latest news and views