Pupils learn about food industry

FOOD and drink firms are being urged to get involved in a pioneering vocational training scheme undergoing its UK trial in Ipswich.This September, 14-year-olds from schools throughout the district will be among the first in the country to start a two-year young apprenticeship in food and drink manufacturing developed by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council.

FOOD and drink firms are being urged to get involved in a pioneering vocational training scheme undergoing its UK trial in Ipswich.

This September, 14-year-olds from schools throughout the district will be among the first in the country to start a two-year young apprenticeship in food and drink manufacturing developed by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council.

The 20 pupils on the scheme will remain at school to study core academic subjects, and will also learn practical skills at college, and undertake work experience with local employers.

“Bosses of companies of all sizes can get involved with the young apprenticeship scheme,” said Terry Fennell, learning and frameworks manager at Improve.

“There will be opportunities to offer either short or long-term work experience placements, or simply to get involved by giving a talk or a tour of manufacturing premises.

“All these efforts will help bring the course to life and allow students to get a real taste of what it's like to work in food and drink manufacturing.

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“It's a great opportunity for employers to raise their profiles among young people, who will hopefully be inspired to embark upon a career in food and drink.”

Ipswich is one of just three areas in the UK where the scheme is being trialled, along with Worksop in Nottinghamshire and Nantwich in Cheshire.

The programme is being managed by the South West 14-19 Partnership, a collaboration between Chantry High School, Otley College and local employers. The partnership secured government funding earlier this year to offer placements, following a successful bid process.

Trudy Stannard, assistant head at Chantry High, said: “This is the first time pupils at such a young age are able to work towards a recognised food and drink qualification, and we're privileged to be among the first in the country to trial the programme.

“The scheme will benefit everyone involved, giving students more flexible learning opportunities ad good employability skills, and providing employers with a pool of high-quality potential recruits.”

Pupils starting the course in September are from Chantry High, Claydon High, Hadleigh High, Stoke High and Thurleston High.

Employers wanting more information can email Trudy Stannard at tst@chantryhighschool.org.uk or Terry Fennell on 0845 644 0448.