New Trailblazer apprenticeship unveiled

The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (NSAFD) has revealed its new engineering apprenticeship for the food and drink industry, as part of the government’s ‘Trailblazer’ programme.

The Food & Drink Engineering Maintenance (FDEM) Trailblazer apprenticeship will be launched officially at the NSAFD Food & Drink Skills Conference on Thursday 11 February. The programme has been designed by a steering group supported by the organisation, and consists of some of the UK’s biggest food and drink companies. This includes 2 Sisters Food Group and Tulip, two prominent meat manufacturers.

NSAFD hopes that the apprenticeship will be ‘game-changing’ for the sector, combining a mix of engineering and food technology skills. Those who complete the apprenticeship will be awarded with a Level 3 Diploma qualification that has been designed to assess skills and knowledge in a food and drink manufacturing workplace.

“We know that our sector is facing a skills gap crisis and we urgently need to build our industry’s talent pipeline,” said Justine Fosh, chief executive of NSAFD.

“This new Trailblazer will be an exciting addition to the food and drink sector and will strengthen possible progression routes. A wide range of sector stakeholders have contributed to the development of this apprenticeship, as well as a mix of major employers and professional engineering institutes, so we are confident we are launching something designed by the industry for the industry.”

The NSAFD, alongside employer groups, have a further four trailblazers in development. They cover: food and drink process operations, advanced food and drink process operations, bakery, and food technology, which are all due to launch in September 2016.

Apprenticeships covering advanced standards for bakery and a higher level apprenticeship for food technology, alongside developing standards for food and drink supply chain professionals and fishmongers, are in the works.

Food and drink businesses interested in learning more about the new portfolio of Trailblazer apprenticeships can register to secure a place at the free Food & Drink Skills Conference by emailing

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