Companies will offer advice and training to young people in a bid to highlight the diversity of careers available from shop or factory floor to marketing, merchandising and human resources.
There is often a perception of jobs in the food and retail industry as short term store-based employment, rather than a diverse career option.
The ‘Feeding Britain’s Future’ campaign is spearheaded by industry think-tank IGD and supported by Jobcentre Plus and designed to equip unemployed young people in the UK with the skills and information needed to find employment in the industry.
It will see companies give free training such as interview advice as part of a week-long ‘skills for work’ initiative in September.
The food and grocery industry is the UK’s biggest employer and provides 3.5 million – or one in seven – jobs and hopes the scheme will help some of the UK’s 1 million unemployed youngsters into work.
The industry-led initiative comes shortly after a number of companies, including Sainsbury’s, pulled out of the Government’s controversial Workfare scheme that provided unpaid work experience placements for benefits claimants.
IGD is calling for other business from farming to supply chain, food manufacture and retail, to sign up.
Justin King, Sainsbury’s CEO, says: “Retail is a vibrant and exciting industry to work in and companies like Sainsbury’s are full of opportunities for young people. We believe that the food industry’s ‘Skills Week’ in September will showcase the wide range of roles we have on offer and demonstrate that young people do not always have to have qualifications to succeed.”
“At Sainsbury’s many of our managers and senior team started on the shop floor and what we look for above all is a great attitude and a willingness to work hard for our customers.”
Other UK brand owners involved include:
Marks and Spencer
The Co-op Vion Foods
National Farmers Union