South African fruit growers have visited the UK as part of the first training and skills programme funded by Sainsbury’s and the UK government's department for international development (Dfid).
A total of 11 growers spent a week visiting all parts of the Sainsbury’s supply chain for their products, from port to shelf, and met key industry figures including buyers, product technologists and members of Dfid.
"We source our products from 70 countries around the world so it’s an honour to be part of this unique programme to bring some of our South African workers closer to the supply chain they play such a key part in,” said Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s brand.
The trip was part of Sainsbury’s wider training scheme, entitled ‘Top of the Class’ and delivered by the National Training Institute, which has involved over 170 people from five fruit-growing regions across South Africa.
It aims to develop work and life skills so workers that are involved in the production of grapes, stonefruit, avocadoes, citrus and apples have greater access to career development and a better awareness of how to deal with personal and social issues. It is delivered though a variety of classroom coaching, workplace mentoring and presentation skills.
“In partnership with Dfid, the training means we’re supporting over 170 workers to have more skills whilst ensuring our customers have the best quality fresh products today and in the years ahead,” added Batchelar.