A Future in FoodWednesday, 6th Sep 2017
After announcing £390,000 to extend the `Future in Food` programme, Jamie Hepburn Minister for Employability and Training in Scottish Government praised the contribution to the current `Future in Food` project by Muirhead butcher Stewart Collins and urged his audience to support Stewart in return. The Minister told a Food and Drink Federation Scotland reception at Holyrood on 6 September:-
"This programme has been a fantastic success in engaging thousands of pupils.
"I was delighted to attend Kirkintilloch High School to see some of this work in action and also to be able to announce £390,000 of further funding until 2020 to continue this important programme.
"The pupils at Kirkintilloch High, fantastic young people, taught me the work that they had carried out with their local butcher Stewart Collins to challenge them to develop a one pot recipe which he would then go on to sell in his shop.
"Given Mr Collins gave so generous to give some of his time to help the young people there, I encourage you all to attend his butchers shop in Muirhead and gets him a few sales."
The Minister said that the importance of, and indeed the success of, the Food and Drink sector in Scotland can not be overstated. Exports have risen to a record £5.5bn, up 56% since 2007. Turnover has reached record levels of around £14bn and there are some 115,000 dedicated individuals working throughout the industry. He said:-
"That is why in March this year the First Minister pledged £7.5m of funding in support of delivery of the new industry led, Food and Drink Strategy `Ambition 2030`. Matched with a further £2.5m from industry the strategy is an excellent example of working to double the value of the sector to some £30m by 2030."
Jamie Hepburn highlighted the announcement made in the `Programme for Government` to support growth markets. A goal would be to further develop demand for locally produced foods particularly in the public sector. The Minister said:-
"Skills development is a key strand of the strategy with sector forecast to create some 27,000 new opportunities over the next decade such as there is an increasing emphasis on higher skilled and professional positions.
"It is important more than ever that the Scottish Government collaboration with the Food and Drink Federation in Scotland and other interested parties do all we can to address the potential skills gaps and ensure that businesses are well placed to meet these ambitious growth targets.
"The new industry Skills Investment Plan features a series measures aimed at helping businesses to find fresh talent, leadership and management skills to boost growth through innovation and efficiency.
"A key theme within the plan which is led by Skills Development Scotland is to Raise the profile of the sector and attract new entrants.
"The plan includes the introduction of a new Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Manufacturing. These new qualifications co-designed with industry will help young people who are in their senior phase at school to gain invaluable work experience and industry recognised industry qualifications and practical skills.
"These talented young people can progress on to a Modern Apprenticeship or indeed embark on further study at college or university to ultimately lead to a fulfilling role within your industry.
"Of course this is an industry that encourages entrepreneurship with the birth rate for new businesses up by over 80% in the last seven years. These flourishing businesses require a range of exciting jobs to be filled from food scientists to product development and online marketing roles.
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"That is why the Scottish Government has provided £640,000 over the past seven years to the Food and Drink Federation Scotland for its schools programme "A Future in Food". It helps to make the food and drink sector a destination of choice.
"There has always been a consistent uptake of our Modern Apprenticeship programme by the Food and Drink industry with over 1000 starts in each of the last five years. I want to ensure that we do more to match young peoples` ambitions so that they can achieve and we will deliver a prosperous and fair Scotland."
The Scottish Government has set an ambitious target of 30,000 new start Modern Apprenticeships across all sectors by 2020 and many of whom will be in the Food and Drink sector. The Minster said that coupled with the Flexible Training Opportunities programme this will ensure that the sector has young people coming through to work in it