Food and grocery retailers are supporting an IGD programme after a survey highlighted significant skills gaps among new recruits.
The IGD survey polled food and grocery retailers and manufacturers, and showed that nearly four in ten reported problems recruiting people with basic skills in specialist areas like food technology.
Retailers reported that some 80 per cent of school leavers had skills gaps in basic literacy and 85 per cent in basic numeracy.
Even among graduates, said employers, 86 per cent showed “some gaps” and 9 per cent “significant gaps” in business maths. In addition, 68 per cent had some skills gaps in writing for business.
Some 24 food and grocery companies have pledged support for the IGD initiative which will thousands of school pupils and people from disadvantaged groups, to develop skills and experience and make them more employable.
Chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch said: “Through work experience programmes, apprenticeship schemes, graduate placements or simply talking to local schools, these companies can help people to gain valuable knowledge, experience and skills, growing confidence and future employment prospects.”
Justin King, president of IGD and chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “The UK food and drink industry is a world leader but needs to do more to sell itself and attract the best and brightest UK graduates and school leavers. This new pledge, signed by more than 20 companies, demonstrates our commitment to improving skills and employment opportunities as the economy continues to recover.