Ahead of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) is urging young people to ‘Blaze a trail’ in the growing packaging industry with the launch of a new degree apprenticeship.
The NSAFD has led a group of industry professionals including large multinationals such as Nestle, Premier Foods and Smurfit Kappa to develop the standard for a new degree level packaging industry qualification to help address the current skills shortage in the UK packaging sector. The apprenticeship is designed to develop packaging innovation across a wide range of sectors, not just food and drink.
The steering group who developed the standard have selected NSAFD approved institution, Sheffield Hallam University, as the first provider of the new apprenticeship. The University’s National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering is also the approved provider of the Advanced Food and Drink Engineer Degree Apprenticeship which is now recruiting its first students to start in September 2019.
Louise Codling, CEO, National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, said:
“There is huge pressure on the UK packaging sector to meet the urgent requirement for sustainable packaging. This requires innovation and fresh-thinking, and, at present, the UK packaging sector is heavily reliant on overseas talent. We believe this new qualification will allow us to grow our own packaging talent who can support the industry in reducing waste and preserving resources.”
Bruce Funnell, Head of Packaging for Global Confectionary at Nestle UK & Ireland, who collaborated on the new apprenticeship, said:
“When young people have finished their A-Levels, there is no programme at all for packaging. Many in our industry just end up in packaging, unlike the US, France or Germany where there are programmes specifically for packaging professionals.
“We hope that announcing the launch of this apprenticeship during National Apprenticeship Week will raise the profile of the packaging industry as an exciting, dynamic destination for young people. “
Professor Martin Howarth, director of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, said:
“As an institution, Sheffield Hallam wants to be the world’s leading applied University, and it is through exceptional degree apprenticeships that this can happen. The Centre will play a strategic role in developing packaging professionals. This new apprenticeship complements our advanced food engineering apprenticeship which launches in September 2019, providing a major competitive advantage to one of the UK’s most important sectors.
“Those who take part in the new degree apprenticeships will be taking their first steps into becoming the next generation of packaging professionals and food engineers. The launch of these industry led apprenticeships marks another fantastic milestone for our Centre. This project builds on our existing strong track record of providing excellent research and knowledge transfer, and of working in partnership with industry to develop food engineering apprentices and graduates to support companies by creating highly skilled and employable graduates, ready for the world of work.”