1. ITV Report

Food industry training boost for unemployed

Giants of the food industry Marks and Spencer, Asda, Mars, Tesco and Unilever are taking part in the project. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Thousands of unemployed young people are to be given free skills training from giants of the food industry.

Farms, factories and shops are throwing open their doors for the scheme, Feeding Britain's Future.

The grocery industry provides 3.5 million jobs in the UK, one in every seven. The training on offer is intended to not only give first-hand experience of the industry but to help in a variety of careers.

Firms such as Marks and Spencer, Asda, Mars, Tesco and Unilever are taking part.

The Think-tank behind the project, IGD, said they are committed to providing development opportunities for youngsters.

The food and grocery industry is the UK's biggest employer and we're committed to playing our part in tackling youth unemployment.

We've consulted both businesses and young people to identify where the skills gaps lie and what the barriers to employment are. We hope the development opportunities on offer will help the young unemployed on the journey towards finding a job.

– Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD

Details of the Jobcentre Plus backed project:

  • Includes training, presentation and interview tips.
  • The scheme will run from September 17 to 21 2012.
  • Businesses across the UK are being urged to sign up online to offer opportunities to young people.

Fiona Dawson, president of Mars Chocolate UK, added: "The food industry is a fantastic place to work and it is important that we showcase the exciting and diverse range of careers it offers."

Andy Clarke, president and chief executive of Asda, said: "With over 2.5 million youngsters out of work or education, our country is in real danger of cutting off the pipeline that will fuel our future economy. Every day I meet talented young people in our stores who have all the ambition, drive and determination to succeed that you could hope to see.

"And whether we are parents, teachers, politicians, producers or shopkeepers, we all have a responsibility to create opportunities that nurture and develop that talent for the future."