Fiona Miller: Feeding Britain’s Future

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Photo: Tom Parkes

Fiona Miller discusses IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future careers initiative, which brings food and grocery industry professionals into schools to inspire and educate students about the world of work.

As the nation recently celebrated Volunteers’ Week, training charity for the food and grocery sector IGD celebrated the accomplishments of its own volunteers as they officially broke through the 6,000 hour mark for time given to the charity’s skills initiative, Feeding Britain’s Future.

Since the programme’s creation in 2015, more than 3,000 food and grocery industry professionals have volunteered over 6,000 hours of their time training 15,000 students in school workshops across the UK. Providing an insight into the variety of roles within the food and grocery sector and the skills needed to succeed in the world of work, the unique workshops bring students and industry together to highlight the opportunities available to young people beyond the classroom.

IGD has found industry professionals to be vital in bringing the food and grocery industry to life for students. Through their career stories, advice and guidance, students get a real flavour of the vast variety of jobs that the industry has to offer, as well as gaining practical tips to help develop their employability skills. Through Feeding Britain’s Future, the industry is making a real impact on thousands of young people who are considering their future options, with 91% saying they feel more prepared for the world of work following an FBF workshop.

In line with the industry’s priority of filling the talent pipeline, the workshops have been developed to highlight certain skills students will need to stand out to future food and grocery employers. Working in consultation with senior HR professionals from some of the largest companies in the sector, IGD has identified eight essential employability skills that help set students up for future success. The following play a significant role in shaping the content of the FBF workshops:
Entrepreneurial: The food and grocery industry is teeming with start-up companies that are founded on drive and spirit to try something new and launch products to market. Shoppers are always looking for new and interesting products and the industry needs curious people who can spot these opportunities.

Creativity: Some of the nation’s most loved food and grocery products and brands started off as an idea. For those good at bringing ideas to life, from marketing roles to packaging design, the industry needs creative-thinkers who can share their vision with others.

Teamwork: Products don’t appear on supermarket shelves by magic; there’s a huge and complex supply chain working behind the scenes to get the right product, at the right time, in front of the right person to buy it. This involves an immense team of people working together to achieve a common goal.

Communication: From translating technical product information into shopper-friendly messages to providing great customer service on Twitter, there are hundreds of opportunities across the food and grocery industry to use your communication skills.

Leadership: All companies need inspiring and confident people to move their business in the right direction and the opportunities in food and grocery are boundless. Many senior figures in food and grocery companies started on the shop or factory floor and with hard work, determination and resilience, have worked their way up.

Digital: From ensuring shoppers can buy groceries on their smartphones to making deliveries by drones, technology is transforming the food and grocery industry. Having the digital skills to respond to the latest trends while applying it to the real world is crucial.

Practical: The food and grocery industry is built on people who think practically to discover why and how things work. From transport engineers to manufacturing roles, practical skills sit at the heart of the food and grocery supply chain.

Analytical: From food scientists ensuring food is safe to consume, to supply chain analysts able to distil data and insights to move products from farm to shelf efficiently, there are a vast number of opportunities for those with analytical skills in food and grocery.

These skills have been brought to life in the classroom with the launch of IGD’s new video that highlights the range of roles available in the industry through a number of young people starting out their careers in three food and grocery companies. Aiming to change perceptions of the sector and reveal the range of exciting and dynamic jobs available, the five minute clip showcases the essential skills and shows how they fit into the day-to-day life of food and grocery careers.

As a result of their involvement, industry volunteers are able to share their knowledge, experience and career stories to engage with young people in their local communities. With 99% of volunteers rating their workshop experience as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’, the charity’s initiative offers a lot for all involved.

Inspired to get involved?

If you’re interested in having your company take part in Feeding Britain’s Future and would like to find out more, please get in touch at [email protected]

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