British food manufacturer Kepak has teamed up with The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) to offer 200 free training places through the Food Passports scheme to encourage more people to take up a career in the food industry.
The meat producer has pledged to fund 100 training courses through the initiative, with the NSAFD also funding an extra 100 places.
The Food and Drink Industry Careers Passport was officially launched in September 2022 by the NSAFD, the Food and Drink Federation, and other major manufacturing businesses.
The training courses will be available across four Kepak sites located in Aberdeen in Scotland, Kirkham and Bodmin in England, and Merthyr in Wales. Last June, the company announced a £5.5 million investment for the Merthyr site to be used to grow its workforce and meet the rising demand for its products.
Kepak is the first food business in the UK to offer the Food Passports scheme, which gives people the opportunity to take courses focused on the food and drinks industry which can then be used to help them begin a career at the company.
Every candidate that completes the course will be guaranteed an interview, according to Kepak.
Cian Short, Early Careers Manager at Kepak Group said: “It’s an exciting time to be joining the food industry with many opportunities to start a career at Kepak being offered and the Food Passport scheme is a great way of gaining industry knowledge alongside developing necessary skills.
“Being the first food business to pledge training places and through our partnership with the NSA supporting initiatives like the Food Passport scheme, we will hopefully encourage many to consider a career in the industry with long term career prospects. At Kepak we are committed to supporting local communities and being a good employer, and this investment is further evidence of that commitment in action”
Short spoke on the variety of graduate opportunities Kepak offers at Food Matters Live’s Inspiring Careers in Food event last November.
NSAFD Chief Executive, Louise Cairns added in a statement: “Since it’s national launch last year, the Passport has gained considerable support as an innovative new recruitment route and it’s excellent to have businesses like Kepak on board and pledging preferential recognition including guaranteed interviews for holders”.