How “Growing your Own” is nurturing the Seeds of Success in Food and Drink
Leaders of the Pack
Governments, sporting champions, blue-chip businesses – every successful venture needs talented leaders.
In the food and drink industry, demand for skilled management is stronger than ever, with rapid changes in technology and increasing competition putting the pressure on companies to work in smarter, more effective ways.
Improve, the Food and Drink Skills Council, has forecast that by 2017 the industry will need to increase the number of people recruited to supervisory and management positions by 50 per cent of current numbers.
With the industry already experiencing skills gaps at senior level, the development of leadership and management skills has become a top priority.
Grow your own
One example of an initiative launched to address this issue is the pioneering Grow Your Own Manager scheme in Wales.
Recognising that nurturing talent within a company is both cost-effective and important for addressing industry-wide skills gaps, Grow Your Own Manager was set up by Improve to offer practical, work-based leadership training which would encourage and support internal promotion.
With more than half of the food and drink workforce in Wales trained to Level 2 or below, and a fifth having no qualifications at all, it was felt important to link the training to a recognised qualification to both raise the aspirations of candidates and set an agreed benchmark for leadership skills.
The course was therefore built around the Chartered Management Institute’s Introduction to Management Training qualification at Level 3, and thanks to funding secured through the Welsh Assembly Government, training cost just £50 per candidate instead of £500.
Huw Rees, Improve’s Nations Manager for Wales, said the scheme was designed to meet employers’ needs. “Many food and drink companies in Wales have a lot of experienced members of staff who have been doing their jobs for years and know the business inside out. But employers have told us they would benefit from a structured, formal means of converting that experience into leadership qualities.
“With the evidence we gathered from employers, we successfully made a case to secure funding and teamed up with Cambridge Professional Academy (CPA), a hugely experienced specialist in delivering management training. CPA tailored the course to suit the needs of individual businesses by drawing up Personal Training Plans for each candidate, so it was very relevant to the needs of each company.”
Taking the biscuit....
Based in the town of Cwmbran in Torfaen, Burton’s Foods owns and makes some of the UK’s most iconic biscuit brands, including Jammy Dodgers, Wagon Wheels and Maryland Cookies, as well as manufacturing Cadbury’s Chocolate Biscuits under licence.
Employing around 800 people, the company is one of the largest employers in Cwmbran and has a proud track record of investment in staff development. The company has established a Learning Centre on its premises and has signed up to the Workforce Development Programme with the Welsh Assembly Government.
Burton’s Foods has embarked on a new programme of employee development aimed at making the company more self-sufficient in meeting its skills needs.
One specific area identified was the need to up-skill more workers internally in order to develop supervisors and team leaders into future managerial candidates. When the company heard about the Grow Your Own Manager scheme through Improve, it registered 25 employees, the largest number of any company involved in the scheme.
HR Manager Cath Greenslade said: “The group we chose were mostly team leaders working on the production line. Although most of them are very experienced and capable, many hadn’t undertaken any formal training or education for a number of years. Some had left school without any qualifications.”