The FDF is working with government and our members to deliver a skills system that successfully addresses both current and future skills shortages to ensure industry can respond to changes in the labour market and reap the benefits of innovation and increased automation.

We aim to build apprenticeship numbers through reform of the apprenticeship levy so it works better for employers and learners. We want to see the creation of a Food and Drink supply chain fund to maximise use of levy funds. For the longer-term we are calling for a more flexible levy and better coverage of training costs.

We are working with government to help shape the implementation of the new T Levels. We support business engagement throughout the development process to ensure the new qualification closely meet the needs of UK food and drink.

We support members to help them access existing learning provision such as the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and the Adult Education Budget.

If you are interested in finding out more about careers and skills development in Scotland please visit the FDF Scotland website.


FDF-NSAFD Joint Apprenticeship Survey

In partnership with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD), FDF have created a survey to establish the current state of apprenticeships in the food and drink industry. Responses to this survey will form a vital part of the FDF and NSAFD’s collaborative work on skills and will strengthen the lobbying position we bring to government.
The survey – which should take no more than 15 minutes – can be completed here and the deadline for responses is Friday 10 June 2022. 
We greatly appreciate you taking the time to complete this survey. If you have any questions please email or


Schools White Paper

The Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi, launched the first Schools White Paper in six years entitled Opportunity for All: Strong schools with great teachers for your child.

Opportunity for All sets out proposals for the UK education system to support the UK Government’s Levelling Up ambitions through improvement to teaching, careers advice and a Parent Pledge. The Parent Pledge is a guarantee that should any child, in any school, fall behind in English or maths, they will receive additional support that will enable them to reach their potential.

Two key indicators of success have been announced to support the Government’s ambition:

  • 90% of primary school children to achieve the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths by 2030 (In 2019, only 65% of children attained this standard)
  • national average GCSE grade in both English language and maths to increase from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

The FDF welcomes this commitment to ensuring all children get the support they need, particularly for maths and English given the issues caused by the competency requirements for these two subjects in the context of apprenticeships and upskilling.

The Government will launch a new careers programme for primary schools in areas of disadvantage and are extending the legal requirement to provide independent careers guidance to all secondary school children. This includes increasing the opportunities for them to meet providers of apprenticeships and technical education.

There will also be improved professional development for teachers and leaders on careers education, including strengthening understanding of apprenticeships and technical routes.

These are valuable commitments from the government which recognise the importance of careers guidance at a young age. If effectively implemented, these programmes can have a significant impact on careers awareness among secondary students of all ages. The FDF, along with the National Manufacturing Skills Taskforce will work with careers advisors and teachers to ensure that the vast array of exciting careers available at every level in the food and drink sector are included in the guidance given to students across the country.

Also included in the Schools White Paper are commitments to the following:

  • launch a new careers programme for primary schools in disadvantaged areas
  • provide more opportunities for students to meet providers of apprenticeships and technical education.
  • Improve professional development for teachers and leaders on careers education, including improving their understanding of apprenticeships and technical routes

The FDF sees working with schools and learning providers as a key part of our ambition to develop a sustainable skills pipeline within our industry to maintain a growing workforce. We have launched a Careers Passport with the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, developed our own Skills Toolkit, and are in continuous conversation with government stakeholders across multiple departments on key issues such as the Apprenticeship Levy and T Levels. Issues relating to skills and education are discussed in our Employment Skills Forum. For information on the forum contact

FDF Conference 2022: UK Food and Drink - The cornerstone of British manufacturing

We are delighted to announce the expert panel of speakers joining us to discuss the topic of "UK Food and Drink: The cornerstone of British manufacturing" at our upcoming Food and Drink Federation Conference taking place at The National Gallery on 22 March 2022.

UK food and drink is operating in exceptional times. As we recover from Covid, post EU Exit and up against many other global challenges, supply chains are being stretched, labour and skills shortages are acute and food inflation is the big issue hitting business and consumers. But how will our resilient and innovative industry rise to the challenges, overcome the barriers and thrive into the coming decade?

Key speakers:

  • David Webster, Director of Sustainability and External Affairs, AB Foods
  • Dan Tomlinson, Senior Economist, Resolution Foundation
  • Chris Williams, Partner and Co-Head of Economic Consulting Practice, Grant Thornton

Other topics we will cover include:

  1. Net Zero versus reality?
  2. Exciting and inspiring UK Food and Drink consumers
  3. Maximising your export potential


Find out more and register your place.

FDF Skills Toolkit

The Food and Drink Federation has launched a new toolkit to provide members with a single point of reference to find up to date guidance on the employment and skills schemes available to employers and how they and their employees can make best use of them.

The toolkit currently provides information on the following:

  • Apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy
  • T Levels
  • Traineeships
  • Lifetime Skills Guarantee
  • Restart Scheme
  • Skills Bootcamps
  • Sector-Based Work Academies

As well as our guidance, members will find links to other useful resources from various governmental and non-governmental bodies including the Department for Education, Department for Work and Pensions and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.

The toolkit will be regularly updated to reflect changes and additions to the skills system and ensure that our members, as well as individuals, have the up to date information needed to make decisions to meet their training needs.

View toolkit


Scottish Council Elections 2022 – FDF Scotland’s asks

Ahead of the Scottish Council Elections 2022 – FDF Scotland sets out our asks for Scotland's local authorities.

Read more

Tooling up the next generation of food and drink workers

A new Skills Toolkit has been launched to help food and drink manufacturers across the UK access resources and information to recruit jobseekers of all ages from every part of the country.

Read more

All news


tomato growing


A recipe for growth, prosperity and sustainability

This is our shared plan for governments to work in partnership with the UK’s food and drink industry to ensure it continues to lead the world and meet the needs of UK consumers and shoppers.



Preparing for a changing workforce: A food and drink supply chain approach to skills

Report by the Food and Drink Sector Council which outlines the future workforce and skills needs of the UK food and drink sector, and has brought together the entire supply chain to develop key recommendations for both government and industry that will deliver a real step change.

Skills topics



The FDF is working with members, government and stakeholders to help maximise the effectiveness of apprenticeships and the levy to build a stronger skills pipeline for the sector.


Lifelong learning

The FDF is working with members to access funding for reskilling and upskilling employees through lifelong learning schemes including the Adult Education Budget, National Skills Fund and Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

content image

T Levels

The FDF is supporting the development of T Levels so they align with industry needs to maximise engagement in industry placements as courses are rolled out in 2021 and 2022.

Receive updates on this topic

Want to keep up to date on this topic?

You can receive email updates on this topic by registering for an FDF account. 

You can edit your preferences so that you receive updates on the topics and the type of information you are interested in. 


Interested in becoming a member?

FDF members have access to a range of benefits to grow, protect and strengthen their business.

Gain an advantage, join FDF today.


Check to see if your company is already a member

How we can help your business

Related topics

eu settlement - passport

EU settlement scheme and immigration

The FDF is supporting our members to stay informed on the latest changes to the new UK immigration system. This includes guidance on EU Settled Status for employees.


National living wage

Maintaining a competitive employment offer and ensuring compliant practice is important for our members. The FDF will help you understand the current landscape and push for your concerns to be heard.

occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety

Keep up to date with the latest HSE insights and information to help keep your workforce safe and your workplace compliant.