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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: Food employers join campaign to tackle youth unemployment


Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer are among 23 organisations in the food and grocery industry to have signed up to a campaign intended to provide pre-employment skills training to unemployed young people.

Thinktank IGD has launched a nationwide initiative entitled “Feeding Britain’s Future – Skills for Work Week” and is calling on other employers to join too in a bid to tackle the current high levels of youth worklessness.
The scheme will see retailers and food manufacturers such as Unilever, Mars and Kraft Foods open their doors from Monday 17 to Friday 21 September in a bid to help 16-to-24-year olds acquire the skills required to get a job.
Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD’s chief executive, told the Press Association that the food and grocery business was the UK’s biggest employer, with one in seven people across the country – or about 3.5 million people – working within it.
“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,” she added.
Each signatory to the campaign has agreed to run at least one training session of at least two hours duration during “Skills for Work” week. Such sessions can either be adapted from tried and tested models or developed from the ground up.
They could include pre-employment training, which focuses on soft skills such as communication and presentation, and either take the form of hands-on activities or first-hand experience of the jobs on offer. But the sessions provided could also help to showcase the industry by providing young people with factory tours or farm visits, for example.
Whichever tack is taken, however, Jobcentre Plus has agreed to provide help and support and will also recruit as many 16-to-24-year olds as are required to fill the places provided by participants.
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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