Young people should take advantage of apprenticeships if they want to forge a successful career in food and farming, says farm minister George Eustice.
DEFRA is working closely with the food and drink manufacturers to promote the value of apprenticeships to unlock the potential of young people.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Mr Eustice visited McCain Foods factory in Whittlesey, Peterborough, this week.
The minister heard first hand from engineering apprentices on site about their roles at the company.
“From food production to science and engineering there’s a variety of career opportunities for young people to take up across the food and farming sector.”
George Eustice, farm minister
Then he joined McCain Foods and Food and Drink Federation to discuss the importance of apprenticeships within the food and drink sector.
“From food production to science and engineering there’s a variety of career opportunities for young people to take up across the food and farming sector,” said Mr Eustice.
“I’m working closely with industry to support new entrants so they can get the skills and experience they need through new courses and improved apprenticeship schemes.
The UK food and drink industry is the country’s largest manufacturing centre – worth more than £90bn/year – and employs nearly four million people.
“All successful industries need new people coming in with fresh thinking and the food and farming sector is no exception,” added the minister.
Melanie Leech, director general at Food and Drink Federation, said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to ensure the sector has a skilled workforce for the future.
“Not only will the company gain a valuable staff member with the talent to make a difference to the business, but the apprentice also gains the confidence, ambition and sense of value which goes hand-in-hand with earning a recognised qualification, inspiring loyalty and the drive to take their career further.”