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Home > News > July 2005 > 18-Jul-2005

Funding to help development of new food and drink apprenticeships

Improve, the food and drink manufacturing sector skills council, has received an injection of £100,000 from the Sector Skills Development Agency to fund the development of new apprenticeship frameworks.

"Our plan is to now respond to employers' demands and design new apprenticeship programmes which not only meet their requirements, but that also offer the best range and level of training to employees," said Teresa Brookes, Learning Frameworks Manager at Improve. "This will include undertaking a review of all existing frameworks and the design of entirely new programmes."

Currently there are apprenticeship frameworks in place covering general food and drink manufacturing, meat and poultry processing and bakery. These apprenticeships are only available to 16 to 24-year-olds, and Improve will use some of this funding to design the outlines of a new Young Apprenticeship framework, specifically for 14 to 16-year-olds.

Improve says they will also develop new, knowledge-based technical certificates that will form one of the main elements of the apprenticeship programme.

"The existing food and drink technical certificate for the advanced frameworks is a BTEC, which is quite academic," explained Brookes. "It is the equivalent of two A-Levels, and requires some 360 hours' work to attain. Obviously this is hard to maintain for an employee with a full-time job, making the apprenticeship less attractive to potential candidates. We have seen take-up and achievement within the food and drink manufacturing sector fall significantly, which is why Improve is prioritising the development of a new technical certificate for the sector."

Brookes said that another issue affecting participation in the advanced framework is that the technical certificate is not widely available throughout England and Wales, with only three colleges offering training.

"We are going to develop an entirely new technical certificate which will not be as demanding in terms of learning hours, but will support the knowledge elements of the programme," she said. "We believe that this will make the advanced apprenticeship a more appealing proposition for training providers to run the programme, as well as helping attract candidates to take part."

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