Scottish Careers Week
Young Talent are providing career inspiration to work in food and drink.
For Scottish Careers Week, we’re shining a spotlight on the young people that are making a real and lasting difference through their work in the food and drink industry.
We are revisiting some of those who lifted Scotland Food & Drink’s Young Talent award in the past few years to discover how they are promoting the value of their own roles and sharing their experiences to inspire others.
It’s crucial to encourage young people to explore the exciting opportunities in one of Scotland’s key industries.
When Glasgow confectionery manufacturer Aldomak took on Jordan Russell back in 2013, neither they nor he could have imagined that in 10 years, he’d have worked his way up to operations manager, lifting the Young Talent award on the way in 2019.
Described by managing director Dario Riccomini as an “indispensable” member of the team, Jordan started in health and safety before moving into a more operational role.
He now looks after the warehouse and purchasing, as well as working on factory efficiency and product costings.
Jordan is an excellent example of the part played by young people in forming and supporting the team, an essential part of a happy and successful business.
“The key skills are hard work, flexibility and teamwork & communication,” he said.
“Food and drink is one of the fastest growing industries and it’s great to work in a dynamic environment where every day is different.
“Our company enjoys a low staff turnover and I think a lot of that is down to us having developed a really strong team ethos
“I came in and built my way up – and if I can do it, anyone can! There are loads of opportunities to take up new roles and apprenticeships.”
The second member of our talented trio is 21-year-old apprentice engineer Kyle Nielsen from Devro.
Kyle has been involved in various projects to help the North Lanarkshire company, who manufacture casings for sausages and other meat products, save energy and water use. He links this to what he is seeing about the effects of climate change and the impact it will have on young people in the future.
He feels that if everyone plays a small part in saving energy and reducing emissions then hopefully the future will be a positive one for the younger generation of Scotland.
He also worked on an electrical panel upgrade that is saving the business £20,000, which was one of the examples that led to him winning the Young Talent title last year in 2022.
“I’d say working in food & drink is an attractive opportunity for anyone looking for work, especially young people that are looking for a career for life.
“I am proud to say I am a part of the future of this industry.”
2023 Young Talent
The most recent winner is Nia Hunter from Shetland. The 19-year-old holds down not one but four jobs which range from working on the family livestock farm and mussel farm, as well as at the local abbatoir and also relief milking.
“I feel I have a duty in promoting and maintaining the traditions, along with playing my part in the production of it,” she said. “I am lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to experience being part of the industry from a young age, so I am keen to share that with others as much as I can.”
She was left stunned when her name was called out at the national awards.
“It was a big shock, I was shocked even to be in the final. When I heard about all the other finalists, I never expected to win,” she said.
Nia also works with Lantra Scotland as an industry champion after being named Overall Winner at the ALBAS Awards earlier this year.
“I have gained a wide range of skills, the main one being confidence,” she said. “I feel my passion speaks for itself and I have found a voice to promote our industry and what we have to offer.
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we as young people pull together to inspire and promote our incredible industry and what it has to offer. We are the future.”
Make the Guarantee
If these talented young people have inspired you, then it’s time to get involved with the Young Person’s Guarantee. The Young Person's Guarantee is a commitment to connect every 16 to 24 year old in Scotland to an opportunity.
For young people, it helps them find their future, searching through more than ,000 jobs, apprenticeships, courses and volunteering opportunities.
As employers, you can build a workforce with the right skills and experience and put young people at the heart of what you do. Not only do you gain new insight from a generationally diverse team, it will help with retention and succession planning.
Links and info
Now in its third year, Scottish Careers Week returns from 13-17 November 2023.