By Daniel Hunter

Over 100 businesses from across the food and grocery sector have already pledged support for an IGD initiative offering 12,000 young unemployed people across Britain pre-employment training that could help them take advantage of the next job opportunity that comes their way.

At a reception in Westminster today (Wednesday), leaders from across the food and grocery supply chain, Britain’s largest private sector employer, announced they are set to open their doors and offer CV and interview skills masterclasses, job search advice and site visits across 1,000 locations this September.

Farming, manufacturing, retail, wholesale and foodservice — and other companies related to the food and grocery industry - will share their advice and experience and showcase the huge variety of careers in the sector during Skills for Work Month.

Speaking at the reception, Minister for Business and Education, Matt Hancock, also gave his support to the largest ever industry drive to offer free pre-employment training for unemployed young people.

A successful week-long pilot in 2012 led 98% of young participants to be more likely to consider a career in the sector and feel more confident about applying for jobs. Of those surveyed, 99% rated the training as good or excellent.

There were real benefits for businesses that took part too; over 85% of participating companies said the employers that delivered the training got a great sense of satisfaction from helping others. It also gave them a chance to spot talent in the next generation as 14% of participating employers offered job interviews to the young people they met, and 18% offered work experience opportunities.

Driven by food and consumer goods research charity IGD, in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, the industry and Government is calling for more businesses — large and small - to sign up online at www.igd.com/feedingbritainsfuture and pledge as many training opportunities as they can — anywhere in the UK.

Joanne Denney-Finch, Chief Executive of IGD, said: “The food and grocery industry is Britain’s largest private sector employer, accounting for one in seven of all jobs, employing 3.7m people. It is an industry in which it’s possible to run your own successful business or start from the bottom and get to the very top — even with very few qualifications.

“For the month of September we want as many businesses as possible of all sizes to offer pre-employment training. This campaign is about the whole industry coming together — across the supply chain and in every corner of the UK.

"Even if you can just provide one session lasting a couple of hours and providing a few hints and tips on interviews, or a CV workshop — it all counts.”

IGD asked unemployed young people about the barriers to finding a job at a forum run by Populus last year. They revealed they lack the confidence to apply for jobs and want real life interview experience, for example, tips on making your CV stand out and presentation skills to help them get out of unemployment and into the workplace. Feeding Britain’s Future meets this need.

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