Minister for employment Mims Davies MP

Food and drink manufacturers across England, Scotland and Wales have been successful in their bid to offer hundreds of job placements to young people as part of the government’s Kickstart scheme.

Led jointly by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), 400 young people will receive industry experience and a wage during their six-month job placement.

All participants who complete their placement will also receive a food and drink manufacturing ‘passport’ confirming their readiness to take up a job in the industry, along with an employability programme delivered by Youth Employment UK. It is hoped that many of Kickstart participants will be taken on as apprentices once they have completed their placements, FDF said.

'During the Covid-19 pandemic, the vital role that food and drink manufacturing plays in keeping the nation fed has been thrust centre stage,' the federation said in a press release. 'While the sector has shown remarkable strength and resilience during the pandemic, the food and drink supply chain has been hugely impacted, with young people bearing the brunt of job losses in the retail and hospitality sectors.

'As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, the food and drink industry continues to offer a hugely diverse range of jobs at all skill levels and has remained one of the few industries actively recruiting throughout the pandemic.'

Commenting on the development, the UK minister for employment Mims Davies MP said: “It’s great to see food and drink manufacturers rallying together to offer 400 young people vital opportunities to gain key industry experience and training through the Kickstart Scheme, boosting their longer term prospects.

“This demonstrates how our Plan for Jobs is helping people back into work and vitally supporting employers in high demand and key growth sectors to recruit, as we push to build back better and level up opportunity across the country.”

Ian Wright CBE, FDF chief executive, added: “Businesses across food and drink manufacturing are delighted to support the Kickstart scheme. It offers young people real pay and real workplace experiences. That combination offers an excellent way to kickstart their careers.”

Participating businesses include, Coca-Cola European Partners, Labeyrie Fine Foods, Karro Food Limited, Piccolo Foods, Saputo Dairy UK, Greencore, Nestlé UK & Ireland, and Ornua Foods, FDF said.