More than 15,000 young people are to be given the opportunity to develop their skills and gain an insight into the food and grocery industry, currently the UK’s biggest employer, thanks to ‘Feeding Britain’s Future’, a nationwide campaign launched today by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) in partnership with Jobcentre Plus. The initiative follows a successful pilot project last year, after which 98% of those surveyed said that they felt more confident about applying for a job.

This year the campaign will build on that success – with double the number of companies taking part – to offer more than 15,000 opportunities for young unemployed people across more than 1,000 locations nationwide. More than 150 businesses are involved from all sections of the supply chain: from Muller Dairy to confectionary manufacturer Mondelēz, to Morrisons supermarket. As well as workshops, and interview sessions with HR managers, young people will have the opportunity to try out practical jobs, enabling them to develop their skills to improve their chances of getting a job.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said: “I am determined to give young people all the help they need to have a good start to their careers, which is why we are working with employers up and down the country to encourage them to provide training and work experience opportunities to help young people get into work. The food and grocery industry is the UK’s biggest employer so it’s great news that 15,000 aspirational young people will have the chance to gain the skills necessary to get a job in the sector.”

Joanne Denney-Finch OBE, Chief Executive of IGD, said: “Feeding Britain’s Future is about helping young people to understand the rules of the game. By offering valuable training in areas like CV writing and interview skills, we want to build confidence so they can compete in the jobs market. Young people who join us in September will be able to hear first-hand from industry experts about what it is that makes successful applicants stand out and how they too can sell themselves. We have a huge amount to offer, employing 3.7 million people in a diverse range of jobs from food scientists and engineers, to the important people winning the battle on the front line providing great customer service in stores. In our industry people can genuinely progress from the shop or factory floor to the top of the business.”