Teens jump at chance of food careers – Fishupdate.com

Teens jump at chance of food careers Published:  01 August, 2006

Terry Fennell, learning frameworks manager at Improve

A PIONEERING scheme for 14 to 16-year-olds to complete an apprenticeship in food and drink manufacturing while still at school has proved so popular that all available places have been snapped up in just a few weeks.

Government funding for the placements was secured in spring and now the first 65 pupils will start the course at three trial centres in England this September.

The two-year Young Apprenticeship programme has been developed by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, and will give students the opportunity to combine core academic subjects, such as English and maths, with vocational study at college and up to 50 days of work experience with a local employer.

The programme will result in the equivalent of four good GCSEs and provides an excellent stepping stone for future careers in the food and drink sector.

At the three trial centres – Nantwich in Cheshire, Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, and Ipswich in Suffolk – further education colleges, employers and schools have formed partnerships to run the programme.

“After the go-ahead for the courses was given earlier this year, Improve worked with each partnership to help inform school children and their parents about the programme, and to recruit the first young apprentices,” explained Terry Fennell, learning frameworks manager at Improve. “As this is the first time the course has been available, we weren’t sure how easy it would be to fill the places, but we have been delighted at how popular it has been.

“This is the first time pupils at such a young age are able to work towards a recognised food and drink qualification. It’s great for the industry to be engaging bright, young students, getting them excited about pursuing a career in food and drink. The initiative is vital to addressing the skills gaps and shortages within the sector. It also enables local manufacturing companies to effectively promote their organisations to young people who will hopefully return in the future to embark on a career in food and drink.

“Our aim now is to obtain further funding to expand the programme, giving more pupils around the country the opportunity to begin a young apprenticeship in food and drink in September 2007.”

For further information on the young apprenticeship programme, contact Terry Fennell at Improve on 0845 644 0448 or email terry.fennell@improveltd.co.uk.

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