The UK food industry requires a stream of new talent to enter the sector on an ongoing basis, however trends are showing that interest in food science and technology within higher education has declined at an alarming rate.
The industry has reported skills gaps and shortages in food science and technology for many years. These qualifications are important in the first steps to address these skills gaps and shortages.
We encourage colleges and individuals to engage with these qualifications, to enable the industry in the UK to fill skills gaps.
These qualifications can upskill those already working in the industry, and provide a basis from which individuals can develop skills in this exciting area of the food industry. For example, the level 3 qualification in this suite can provide a stepping stone to both higher education and management.
These qualifications are designed for learners who are considering progression to the next level of learning in food technology training and education. They may be funded for 16-18 year olds as part of a Study Programme, and learners of 24 years and over may consider an Adult Learner Loan at a Further Education College in England.
They offer learners the opportunity to develop food science and technology skills and knowledge that will support a range of occupational roles in the food and drink industry.
The broad choice of qualification units accommodates a very wide selection of roles; such as those in product or process development, technical and specialist management, quality assurance, traceability and testing, product labelling and packaging.
Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology and Management - £109.50
Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology - £109.50
Trained and assessed in a learning or college environment, these qualifications are also known as vocationally-related qualifications (VRQs).
They are designed to support progression to the next level of learning.
Food manufacturing giant and FDQ end-point assessment customer, PepsiCo, are embracing the FDPO apprenticeship to enhance and standardise their training across their Walkers Crisps production sites.
Over fifty apprentices have successfully completed their FDQ end-point assessment (EPA) and PepsiCo now have around 275 apprentices on programmes throughout the UK.
Mandy Reader, Organisational Capability Manager, UK and Ireland, explains how the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship fits into their ‘Grow our Own’ strategy,
“We have a four-stage technical pipeline and our aim is to develop our own technical talent from entry level, General Support Operators. The FDPO apprenticeship enabled us to map our training needs into a nationally accredited qualification. This makes it a much more attractive prospect for potential candidates. They can see that there’s a career path open to them if they work hard. For some it’s the first time they’ve ever achieved a qualification.”
With over 1500 applicants for less than 100 vacancies recently, their approach looks to be working.
End-point assessment a game changer!
Managing a multi-site apprenticeship programme requires significant resource, according to Reader. In her view, key to PepsiCo’s success is the three-way partnership between FDQ, as their EPA partner, PepsiCo, and CQM, their training provider. EPA represents a game changer for everyone, says Reader,
“For business and apprentices, EPA provides independent verification that they have achieved a recognised industry standard, one developed by food manufacturers themselves. For us it’s vitally important to work with a food specialist EPA organisation. With high volumes of apprentices going through end-point assessment, having assessors with solid occupational experience combined with a dedicated EPA Manager is central to the success of the programme.”
The Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship is now firmly established as the entry level production qualification for PepsiCo’s UK businesses. It has resulted in what Reader believes are ‘Gold Standard’ General Operators. And she’s not the only advocate of their apprenticeship programme. PepsiCo won the Food Manufacture Training Award in 2018 and have recently been named as an East Midlands Regional Finalist in the Employer of the Year category of the 2019 National Apprenticeship Awards.
Find out more about the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship and end-point assessment here.Read more
We’ve just heard that FDQ have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Awarding Organisation of the Year category at the Federation of Awarding Body (FAB) Awards 2019.Read more