Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Reality of Skills Activism; Learning and Skills Council Commercial Feature in Association With

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Reality of Skills Activism; Learning and Skills Council Commercial Feature in Association With

Article excerpt

NEW learning opportunities for the Food Manufacturing sector in the North-east are bringing true results for employers and individuals alike.

This is thanks to partnership working, a small pot of funding and grasping onto the latest Government thinking - known as Skills Activism whereby employers are able to shape the delivery of skills development. Three years ago employers expressed a need for new skills in the food manufacturing sector. Much work has been done to ensure that training providers can work differently to give people the skills required to meet sector demands, supported with a pounds 15,000 cash injection from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) North East. This has seen an increase in learning opportunities and the development of a new learning infrastructure in food manufacturing in the region, resulting in both employer based learning (funded through Train to Gain) and apprenticeships, come to fruition.

Now more than 60 employees are currently in training and hoping to achieve the Production Control Skills Pathway at National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2. This learning is funded through Train to Gain. A further five employers have recruited apprentices in food manufacture and are following the Butchery Pathway developed by Improve Ltd, the Sector Skills Council for Food and Drink Manufacturing.

The LSC North East has also brought in Scottish Meat Training to deliver NVQs and they have developed a relationship with Darlington College to jointly deliver apprenticeships in meat and poultry - the first butchery apprenticeship in the region. One employer benefiting from the new learning opportunities on offer is Country Harvest Farm Foods, based in Darlington, a wholesale supplier of meat, poultry, game, cooked meats and frozen food. Country Harvest Farm Foods employs 12 people at their Tees Valley production unit.

They got involved with the college quickly, eager to give existing staff opportunities to gain formal qualifications, enhancing the jobs they are currently undertaking.

Three existing members of staff - Chris McNamee, aged 52, Adrian Bonas, aged 43 and Ian Milne aged 47 - have begun NVQs in Butchery and a further two members of staff -Ian Gallagher aged 35 and Chris Randle aged 41 - are undertaking NVQs in Food Operation. …

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