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Dairy Firms Join Food Manufacturing Skills Partnership

20 February 2015

UK - Müller Dairy UK, Arla Foods and First Milk are among a range of leading dairy businesses that have come together to establish a Dairy Industry Skills Partnership.

The Dairy Industry Skills Partnership is part of food and drink manufacturing’s wider employer-led Industry Skills Partnership – a new collaborative industry platform for businesses to drive reform in the skills system supporting the sector.

The Dairy Skills Partnership, Chaired by Arla Foods’ Supply Chain Director Jens Termansen, was established at a meeting of UK dairy firms in Cheshire on Tuesday 10th February.

“Up to date workforce skills and a ready supply of appropriately qualified recruits are the key components in the dairy industry’s drive for improved productivity, product innovation and supply of great products” said Mr Termansen.

“As a sector, Dairy has benefited greatly from past collaboration around shared skills issues and we welcome this structured opportunity to continue and further strengthen our work together as part of wider cooperation across food manufacturing.”

The new Dairy Industry Skills Partnership is the first industry sub-sector group to be formed within food and drink manufacturing’s overall Industry Skills Partnership.

The new pan-industry employer group, the first to represent all facets of UK food manufacturing, has received Government backing as part of the Employer Ownership of Skills initiative and is being supported by the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.

Similar skills groups representing other sub-sectors, such as Meat, Soft Drinks, Bakery and Fish, are expected to be confirmed in coming weeks along with industry alliances to tackle pan-industry skills issues in areas such as engineering and food science.

Sonia Belfield, HR Director at Müller Wiseman, said collaboration on skills would benefit companies of every size.

“The new Dairy Industry Skills Partnership represents an important step forward in our efforts to boost productivity and innovation and maintain the UK dairy industry’s position in the face of intense marketplace competition,” she said.

“We have made great strides forward in establishing dedicated centres of learning excellence in areas such as dairy technology and dairy engineering, but it doesn’t stop there. General production roles are becoming ever more complex and we must ensure the sector continues to be properly supported in terms of the quality, availability and depth of vocational education and training.”

Justine Fosh, CEO of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, said the Academy had received widespread Industry Skills Partnership interest from business leaders and welcomed the early establishment of the Dairy collaborative.

“Dairy businesses have set a strong precedent in their commitment to skills as the lynchpin of improved efficiency and productivity. The Industry Skills Partnership as a whole is designed to replicate that across all sub-sectors – ensuring the skills system supplies the talent and training UK food and drink manufacturing needs to continue to compete in world markets.”

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