A training programme designed to develop the food and drink processing and manufacturing industry has hit a major milestone, having supported 100 businesses with their training needs within its first year of delivery.
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.
Commenting on this major milestone, Sarah Lewis, Project Manager for Food Skills Cymru said, “I am delighted with the development of the programme in its first year, having assisted 100 Welsh food and drink businesses with their training needs.
“The food and drink industry and the whole supply chain is very important to the Welsh economy. Almost 20% of all employment in Wales lies within the food and drink sector and it contributes approximately £6.9 billion in sales revenue.
“When we did research back in 2015 we discovered 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.”
One business who has received funding support from the Food Skills Cymru programme is Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd, producers of quality poultry and red meat since the 1920’s. As a result of the scheme they have completed a wide variety of courses, including HACCP Levels 3 and 4, IOSH, BRC Auditing, TACCP and Introduction to LEAN Management.
Justin Scale, Managing Director at Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd, says, “At Capestone we believe that our workforce is our biggest asset and we need to invest in this asset to help our company thrive. We believe that all our employees have the potential to grow, both in their work role and personally, and the support of Food Skills Cymru has enabled us to provide opportunities for this growth. Investment in our team means investment in our company and developing our people is the key to a sustainable future.”
South Caernarfon Creameries is another company benefiting from this funding support, having received approval for their employees to undertake training in Environemental Awareness, IOSH Managing Safely, First Aid at Work and Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP).
Elwyn Jones, Company Secretary of South Caernarfon Creameries explains, “Here at South Caernarfon Creameries Ltd we pride ourselves on our award winning cheese products. Having the right calibre of employees is imperative to the success of our business, which is why we are investing in their development. This gives them, not only the underpinning knowledge required to fulfil their roles successfully, but also increased motivation which in turns drives product quality and productivity. Having funding for training through Food Skills Cymru is key to the business to be able to achieve this goal.”
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% to 80%, 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 Food Skills Cymru programme will offer training support to businesses up to September 2021 and further information is available through contacting Food Skills Cymru on [email protected] or calling 01982 552646.
Food Skills Cymru is funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.