Food and drink industry skills gap warning.

‘The food and drink industry is facing an "image crisis" which could worsen the skills gap firms are facing, it has been warned.

At the start of national apprenticeship week, the sector said it was being "ignored" by young people starting off in a career despite its status in the economy.

The industry was facing a generational "time-bomb", with more than a third of its 400,000 strong workforce due to retire by 2020, including a large number of managers and engineers.

Justine Fosh, chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, said: "Sadly, there remain many misconceptions about the variety of available roles in food and drink and a lack of information about the industry's career progression opportunities.

"Young people have an outdated image of the industry, but we have good jobs - we simply need the talent.

"At best we are ignored, at worst we are not considered to be an industry of choice.

"The 2020 deadline we face is a very real one, and if we don't encourage the next generation into our industry, the skills gap in food and drink could have a very real impact on the economy." – Daily Mail

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