Feeding Workforce Skills: Grow Your Own

How to grow your own talent

Featured News
Published: 14/11/2022

Are you using the full talent potential of your existing workforce?

Rising costs and recruitment issues facing the food and drink industry are widely recognised. So it’s a wise move to look at smart ways to work with what you already have.

There are many resources to help you make the most of your workforce. It doesn’t need to be complicated and can be adjusted to suit the size and maturity of any organisation.

Here is a quick guide on how to start growing your own talent.

1. There are 12 excellent tips in Scotland Food & Drink’s employer’s toolkit.

These range from tips on mentoring and feedback, job swaps and research projects and help you look at developing your workforce from a wider perspective.

2. Our Skillsforce is the online resource run by Scotland’s national skills agency Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

It lets you take an overall view of your team’s skillsets to identify the priorities for skills development across your business.

Create an account and get started with a Role Comparison. This interactive tool lets you define your future skills needs by comparing the tasks, knowledge and skills for the roles you have now against the roles you need. It’s a great way to start making a plan for upskilling your team.

3. If we say “apprenticeship”, do you immediately imagine a 16-year-old turning up at your door?

There are a range of apprenticeships that can develop the skills of your existing workforce, regardless of their age, and they can be completed while they’re employed. Modern apprenticeships focus on upskilling your existing employees and help improve productivity and staff morale.

They'll bring new ideas, skills and vibrancy to your workplace and employees can work towards an industry qualification. A learning provider will help train your apprentice.

Subjects range from agriculture to aquaculture, spirit operations to supply chain management and give practical and up-to-date skills. Whether in digital marketing or engineering, food & drink operations to professional cookery, your team will tackle their roles armed with renewed knowledge and enthusiasm.

What’s more, SDS contributes towards the costs of training and assessing apprentices, and pays this contribution directly to the learning provider you’ve chosen to deliver the apprenticeship.

4. And while we’re on the subject of funding, this year’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund is now open for applications.

Thousands of businesses can now apply for up to £15,000 to help retrain and upskill your workforce. The Scottish Government fund lets employers create training programmes that meet their needs in addressing skills gaps.

The funding provides an opportunity to upskill your existing workforce to retain jobs and support you as you adapt to a new and different working environments.

All eligible employers can access training available through local colleges, Skills Development Scotland and the Open University, tailored to their needs.

Apprenticeship Levy-paying organisations can access upskilling support to the value of £15,000, and non-levy paying SMEs up to £5,000.

5. An additional useful resource if you’re looking for specific industry or regional support is Find Business Support – a guide to Scotland’s public sector grants, funding, advice, help and events.

You can filter by region, sector or topic to zoom in on exactly what applies to your business and workforce.

Resource list

· Scotland Food & Drink’s employment toolkit

· Our Skillsforce

· Modern Apprenticeships

· Flexible Workforce Development Fund

· Find Business Support

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