Inspiring the subsequent generation

Andrew Gardner reviews on IFST’s first Education & Careers Forum held at Food Matters Live in November 2018.
With Food Matters Live as a backdrop, IFST hosted the primary of its new Education & Careers Forums in November, chaired by Prof Richard Frazier. The Forum attracted representatives from throughout the sector for an replace on T-tiers (new technical qualifications for sixteen-19-year-olds), apprenticeships, food graduate competencies and the plans of the new Food Skills Sector Council.

Updating on the advent of T-levels, Janette Graham, 2 Sisters Food Group Technical Learning and Development Lead, defined that they may be intended to change the technical education landscape, installing location a greater consistent framework for enterprise-targeted qualifications. They aim to put together college students for entry into professional employment and are based totally on the occupational requirements (level 3) being evolved by way of the Institute of Apprenticeships (IoA). The first students are because of beginning education from September 2020 with food science students beginning from 2021, and qualifying in 2023. The education can be study room added over years by an FE provider, with a requirement for 20% at the activity education.

IoA has formed sixteen T-degree panels of employers, professional our bodies and companies to define the knowledge, abilities, and behaviors required in each occupation: food sciences sit within the fitness and technology course. Once the defined content has been agreed, IoA will find an awarding agency to translate content into a qualification for Further Education (FE) providers to supply. There could be one awarding frame for every one of the sixteen routes.

Delivering the 45-day industry placement for college kids of their 2d year of observe can be one of the finest demanding situations to the advent of T-levels, especially as apprenticeships have not had the anticipated degree of uptake by the enterprise. Supervision and shipping problems are also many of the challenges being addressed.

The Department of Education (DoE) is launching a communications marketing campaign in 2019 to elevate cognizance of T-levels, boom knowledge of the way they contribute to wider education reform and construct self-assurance in those qualifications amongst companies, mother and father, college students and employers. The DoE held a consultation on draft proposals (which closed on 17 January 2019).

Forum attendees wondered the potential of the FE area to deliver the brand new qualifications and requested what the subsequent steps for college students could be. Geographical challenges have been also mentioned, in terms of uneven distribution of possibilities and delivery for college kids in greater rural settings. Asked approximately the project of locating right industry placements, Janette stated that the arena became consistently figuring out the need for more skilled expertise so engaging in the placement programme became in its personal interest – employers could view the enterprise placement as an prolonged 10-week interview.

Emma Weston, Associate Professor University of Nottingham, supplied her work on the competencies of meals graduates, which had concerned full-size engagement with the arena. The ensuing White Paper recognized 14 traditional meals profession position access points and mapped the competencies needed for these roles. The competencies have been published on the IFST internet site and the University of Nottingham has advanced an open get right of entry to the online toolkit for college students to explore the extraordinary roles available and the competencies needed.

Emma reported that the task outputs have been being shared among training providers, who have been reviewing their programmes to make certain college students were acquiring the maximum acceptable competences – as defined by means of the arena. She stated the sector too may want to study activity roles inside the mild of the graduate competencies.

In welcoming the initiative, Forum attendees idea it’d be beneficial to put the work inside the context of the variety of career paths to be had, as human beings enter the world from many distinctive starting factors. The lack of the Food ‘A‘ Level had left a gap in schools, now not helped by means of the gap between science and meals teaching. The new GCSE in Food Preparation and Nutrition had gone a few ways to bring food science into the school room and IFST’s Love Food Love Science website for instructors became visible as a big success. Attendees considered whether or not a toolkit starting up the routes into the arena would be useful to college students, instructors and dad, and mom.

Louise Codling, National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD), up to date the Forum on apprenticeships and NSAID’s function in coordinating company input. The apprenticeship requirements were in improvement since 2014, targeted in particular in regions in which employers were reporting recruitment problems. Uptake of the Food Technology (stage three) and Food Industry Technical Professional (stage 6) became low however growing. The food and drink maintenance engineer programme (degree three) become anticipated to have a higher uptake.

Louise defined that one of the demanding situations to shipping of apprenticeships was locating carriers. Existing vendors have been dealing with threats from new entrants, rationalization, the fallout from the introduction of the levy and universities taking a more employer facing approach. In preferred, universities had grasped apprenticeship delivery well.

Louise mentioned that employer cognizance about the apprenticeships become exact, but SMEs did constitute a marketplace failure. There is a loss of uptake of apprenticeships in general and attendees were amazed by means of the very low utilization of the levy by using employers, at about 16%. Student awareness is improving allowing universities to require 2 As or A*s for access to courses. NSAFD reports that the food and drink sector assist for the apprenticeships posted up to now is ideal and plans are to embed those instead of expanding new ones.

Forum attendees requested about the employment of diploma apprentice graduates, and Louise said they were looking ahead to sixty-five % fulfillment price. A consultant from the university zone commented that companies will handiest input the marketplace if the business case stacks up. Other attendees noted that provision was thin in positive regions, the southwest specifically.

Caroline Keohane, Food and Drink Federation Policy Manager, added the new Food and Drink Sector Council chaired together with the aid of BIS (Ian Ferguson) and DEFRA (Sally Warren). The Council goals to enhance productivity and sustainability, linking the farm-to-fork chain with relevant authorities departments. It has eight workstreams: agricultural productivity, innovation, logistics, nutrition, staff, export, and meals & drink industry region deal. FDF is leading at the team of workers and talents workstream, which has the objectives of developing a coherent meals chain voice, establishing a long-term action plan to deliver an enormously inspired body of workers and securing authorities assist to enforce the plan.

Fiona Kendrick (Nestle UK & Ireland) is the Workforce Project lead, supported by using core individuals from enterprise our bodies, authorities departments, outlets, producers, hospitality and higher training, as well as a much wider consultative group.

The team of workers group is planning to address the size and distribution of the world (being composed of many SMEs), its image (low skilled, low tech, low pay), skill shortages and coffee apprenticeship numbers. Brexit (20% EU nationals employed inside the UK work in foods and drinks) and digitization (£fifty five.8bn capacity fee to quarter by implementing ‘recognized’ virtual technologies) also gift new demanding situations and opportunities. The staff group has set up three challenge organizations looking at apprenticeships, destiny team of workers planning and upskilling the personnel.

The trouble of the foods and drinks sector image is a complex one. One key hassle is the number of competing projects designed to address this: the task to authorities is to assist industry to navigate those tasks.

Government and the Council are searching at:

• growing the wide variety of apprenticeships and T-level placements in the industry;

• locating mechanisms to offer smaller enterprise the possibility to enjoy the levy;

• making sure employers are privy to the 20% off-the-job training necessities;

• encouraging collaboration to allow the commercial enterprise to get admission to STEM-associated requirements;

• sharing clear messaging around career campaigns across the world.

The Council is calling the Government to:

• run an apprenticeship campaign to change perceptions and lift attention that apprenticeships may be suitable for upskilling too;

• discover new approaches to allow the levy to be spent on employees (particularly whilst regarding the devolved international locations);

• installed area a future immigration coverage that works for the meals chain.

Longer time period aims ought to nicely include making food a recognized career route rather than splitting it across hospitality, production and technology, and making the T-degree a vast curriculum option earlier than specializing in a particular food profession.

Summarising the contributions, Prof Frazier said that finding solutions to a number of the challenges confronted with the aid of the sector could depend on bringing humans collectively, making our bodies like IFST and FDSC even extra essential. Key issues were rising around regional issues, geographical provision, and the devolved nations. Also, there’s a want to capitalize on young people’s interest and pleasure approximately food and to inspire them to consider the exceptional routes into the sector in an extra coordinated way (possibly thru case research). That FDSC is looking at the Government to assist with the photo of the sector is critical too – one suggestion became for an excessive profile social media campaign and an Instagram-friendly ambassador. The difficulty of enticing SMEs in personnel and skills turned into additionally highlighted and Prof Frazier notion IFST and others may want to make a start through attaining out to a number of the bigger SMEs.

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