Food skills support programme exceeds training target

A training programme designed to develop the food and drink processing and manufacturing industry has hit a major milestone, having supported over 5,500 training days since April 2019.

The Food Skills Cymru programme is delivered by Lantra and supports businesses of all sizes within the Welsh food and drink sector, ensuring employees have the right skills and training for their business and the wider industry as a whole.

Working across all sectors within the industry, it helps employees adapt to future economic and environmental challenges and capitalise on opportunities for business development and growth.

Sarah Lewis, project manager for Food Skills Cymru, said: “I am delighted with the development of the programme since we started in April 2019. Having initially set ourselves a target of 1,000 training days we have exceeded that and have now supported Welsh food and drink businesses with over 5,500 training days.

“Our previous research showed that there was quite a lot of skills gaps and technical shortages not only within food technology and food safety legislation, but also in other areas like leadership and management, waste awareness and sales and marketing. However, with the funding available for these business we can help ensure their employees have the correct skills to thrive in an ever-changing industry.”

Red meat processing company Randall Parker Foods is one business to benefit from the training support, having received approval for their employees to undertake various aspects of training to improve their skillsets.

Dale Williams, general manager at Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes, said: “As a company, we strive for continual improvement of skills and knowledge of our workforce from board level to shop floor. We have gained many new skills and widened our employees’ training development in all areas and aspects of the business. The support we have received from Food Skills Cymru has been invaluable to our training development programme.”

Food and drink businesses still have a small window of opportunity to apply for funding support to help with their training needs but they need to act soon.

Sarah added: “The last date for businesses to submit a funding application for training is December 17, with all training required to be completed by February 18 2022.

“Our training support covers a range of crucial areas needed across the industry today. We will consider funding any training needs that an individual business may have. Therefore, we would like to encourage all food and drink processing and manufacturing businesses to get in touch with the team today to discuss your staff’s training needs.”

Eligible businesses wanting to access the funding available to support with the cost of completing training courses, will firstly work with the Lantra team to complete a Skills Diagnostic Tool that helps businesses identify and prioritise training needs. Lantra will then choose the most appropriate training provider from their approved list on their framework to deliver the relevant training at a time and location that best suits the business needs.

The amount of funding available ranges from 50 per cent to 80 per cent, dependent on the size of the business. To be eligible for support, the business must have a production or manufacturing site located in Wales and be able to show a clear return on investment following the training.

The last date to apply for funding for training support via the Food Skills Cymru programme is December 17 with all training required to be completed by February 18 2022. Further information is available through contacting Food Skills Cymru on wales@lantra.co.uk or calling 01982 552646.

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