In November 2009 the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) launched a report entitled ‘Future Skills Requirements of the Food and Beverage Sector’. Within this report a number of recommendations are highlighted including the need to provide an operative and supervisor accredited up skilling programme (Recommendation 2A). That Report highlights that of the 50,000 people employed directly in the food and drink processing sector in 2008, 30,000 have low or no level of formal second level education and are a vulnerable group in the current economic climate. Many of the larger member companies have in excess of 500 employees respectively.
During 2010 and 2011, the Taste 4 Success Skillnet responded to the Report and subsequently undertook a national research study amongst its membership to achieve a more detailed understanding of the food and drink sector’s specific training requirements, current practices, challenges and potential solutions relating to training operatives and supervisors with a goal to address Recommendation 2A. The results of that study are contained in its report: Up-skilling – A Skills Strategy for Operatives & Supervisors in the Food and Beverage Industry.
The study sought to identify and compare the macro viewpoint of EGFSN Recommendation 2A with current day to day training and development practices and challenges facing the food and drink sector and provide practical recommendations that would adequately address Recommendation 2A in accordance with industry needs.
The research made every effort to ensure that all current training provision available on the Island of Ireland has been identified and calibrated against member company needs. The gaps identified and subsequent recommendations proposed, represent a skills strategy model that can be easily accessed and implemented by those seeking to achieve a quantum leap in performance by providing training and up-skilling for operatives and supervisors working in the ever changing food and beverage industry. The resulting skills strategy programme encapsulates international best practice and is aligned to the National Framework of Qualifications and the European Framework of Qualification.