The food and grocery industry can do even more to help young people prepare for work, according to Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive.
Denney-Finch will update the IGD Skills Summit on the progress of Feeding Britain’s Future – Skills for Work Week. So far more than 50 companies have signed up. IGD is hoping they will create thousands of opportunities for 16 to 24-year-old unemployed people to experience job interviews, learn about CV writing and get a taste of work during one week from 17 September 2012.
In May IGD hosted a Youth Voice Forum at which more than 70 young people shared their opinions about barriers to work, views on the industry and the potential format of the skills week in September.
Denney-Finch said: “I heard directly from some of the young unemployed people we met in Birmingham. They told me they lack confidence and feel they are not being given a chance.
“They don’t know how to package what they’ve got. For example, one of the attendees at our forum said that he had no leadership or team-working skills. But it later transpired that he is the captain of his local football team.
“Most of the time young people just need a chance. And as the food industry employs 3.6m people, right across the country, we are in a position to be able to provide that chance. Many companies in the supply chain already help disadvantaged groups, and while we can’t help all one million young unemployed people we can and must do even more.
“There are three good reasons why farmers, retailers, manufacturers and everyone in the food industry should get involved with Feeding Britain’s Future. Firstly, this is a chance to put something back into the community – which makes good business sense.
“Secondly, it’s an opportunity to help young unemployed people, so it is an investment in the future. And thirdly, our Skills for Work Week provides a means of communicating directly with thousands of young people to help dispel the myths about working in a supermarket or food manufacturer.”