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It is National Apprenticeship Week (5-9 March) here in the UK. Led and co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, the week celebrates the positive impact of apprenticeships and showcases how they work for individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.

Now in its 11th year, the event highlights how apprenticeships can serve as both a fast track to a great career and business growth.

The food and drink industry has been placing great emphasis on apprenticeships recently in its drive to attract new talent to the sector amid fears of a looming skills shortage. In the next issue of Food & Drink Technology, we will feature a timely look at apprenticeships in food and drink manufacturing, courtesy of Andy Cheshire, managing director of CQM Training & Consultancy.

Urging the delivery of quality apprenticeships rather than quantity, he writes, “Though the government’s three million target for apprenticeship starts by 2020 is ambitious, it could be a useful benchmark.” And believes the drive will “ultimately lead to better UK productivity”.

Cheshire also cites food manufacturer Bakkavor, which has been flying the flag for apprentices and has been able to make quantifiable savings from implementing quality apprenticeship programmes at its Wigan, UK site. The company has reported significant savings in terms of cost and time efficiencies and, as testament to this, is set to increase the number of existing staff apprentices and young apprentices across its business soon.

You can read more in the April issue, due to be published week beginning 9 April.

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