Bertrand Emond, Head of Membership and Training
There is a widely recognised and growing skills and knowledge gap in the food and drink industry. In addition to our comprehensive range of training courses and conferences, we help companies to develop bespoke Training Academies. Bertrand Emond explains how the skills gap has come about, and the many initiatives being taken to address the problems.
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The industry is suffering from a well reported shortage of fit-for-purpose staff. This was highlighted in our latest scientific and technical needs document, we are simply not recruiting enough new blood in to the industry and we are losing too many people, skilled people, through retirement, so it's a big knowledge and skill gap.
We see more and more members, companies developing learning and development strategies. They realise that the ability to learn is a critical success factor, they're looking at optimising learning transfer within their organisation and for people it means that there are more formal CPD plans, continuing professional development, and lifelong learning is key to their own success.
More companies are setting up in house training universities or training academies. A corporate academy is a company specific training and development structure and activity, there are different levels of maturity from a tactical training centre to a strategic agent of change.
We are currently involved in a number of these academies and from our experience the way it works best is when we sit down with a particular company and they share the knowledge, the development program, their knowledge and skills matrices and we work together to implement a structured program of learning activities. So, it could be a blend, a mix of attending some of our open courses, conferences and seminars, organising some tailored courses, getting some of the staff to take part in our wide range of member interest groups, also loading an intranet or learning management system some of our resources, including white papers, videos, podcasts, guideline and providing technical contents to feed into their e-learning platform, organising webinars to cover hot topics and also providing technical experts today in-house events.
The main benefit of having an academy is that through the structured approach companies have been able to demonstrate, and also ensure, the competency of their staff effectively and also create a stronger relationship with their suppliers. Where they involve in the academy.
We can play a range of different role within an academy. For some we've been involved right from the start, where we sat down with a company and went through the training needs analysis, we put together the knowledge and skills matrices and mapped out a comprehensive program of training and learning activities. For example, food safety week, quality week or making sure that the member company has the right representatives on our various member interest groups and so that it can feed back what they've learned into the business for others. We've been involved on an ad hoc basis to fill very specific gaps and provide relevant technical content and expertise.
At Camden BRI we are also passionate about getting people involved in the food industry, having a career in the food industry, so we help students directly through placements and work experience opportunities. We also support the FST career launchpad, the National Skills Academy food start, also the IGD feeding Britain's future and Ecotrophelia, which is European student product development competition, which we host the UK leg of the competition during the Campden BRI Day week in June.