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.


National Apprenticeship Week 2022

Apprenticeships and Qualifications

The theme for National Apprenticeships Week 2022 has been announced. Continuing on from 2021, ‘Build the Future’ will be this year’s theme with a focus on the benefits apprenticeships can have on individuals, businesses and local communities.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) will take place between 7 and 13 February 2022, and a toolkit is available to support the apprenticeship community with planning their activity for the week.

2022 will be the 15th iteration of NAW, a week-long celebration taking place across England to encourage individuals of all ages reach their career goals by building skills and knowledge through an apprenticeship.

Individuals, employers, training providers and communities are being asked to support NAW 2022 by encouraging everyone to consider how apprenticeships can #BuildTheFuture.

FDF Education Initiative Award – Entries are now open!

Does your company work positively with schools and colleges to encourage interest in food and drink manufacturing or help facilitate employment opportunities for young people?

Enter the FDF Awards – Education Initiative category before 28 February 2022, for your chance to win. It’s completely free to enter!

View the full criteria

Find out more about the FDF Awards

FDF Apprentice of the Year Award – Entries are now open!

Do you employ a brilliant apprentice in your food and drink manufacturing company?

Nominate them for the FDF Apprentice of the Year award before 28 February 2022. It’s completely free to enter!

View the full criteria

Find out more about the FDF Awards

Extended Incentives for hiring new apprentices


The £3,000 incentive payment for hiring a new apprentice has been extended until the end of January 2022.

If you have hired a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, you can apply for the incentive payment until 30 November 2021.

If you have, or are planning to, hire a new apprentice between 1 October 2021 and 31 January 2022, applications for the incentive payment will open in January 2022. This means employers can recruit now and apply for the incentive payment retrospectively (before the 31 January 2022 deadline).

To receive the payment, employers must submit an application for each eligible apprentice using their apprenticeship service account.  You can access a step-by-step guide to the process here.  To find out more about the incentive payment please, guidance is available here.


Skills Update


Following the Prime Minister’s speech that set out the Government’s aims for ‘levelling-up’, the Department for Education has made a series of announcements including a consultation on the National Skills Fund and the confirmation of the pilot areas for the Strategic Development Fund. The announcements are:

  • National Skills fund consultation asking for views on how the fund can be adapted to continue to meet the future skills needs of individuals and employers.
  • Expansion of Skills Bootcamps to every region of the country, offering an extra 16,000 fully funded places for adults to upskill or retrain.
  • Funding Accountability consultation on plans to simplify funding for adult skills training, while giving colleges more freedom to decide how best to support the training needs of local communities.
  • Skills Accelerator and LSIPs – 18 new pilot areas eligible for funding through the £65 million Strategic Development Fund. Eight of these areas will also lead work to develop Local Skills Improvement Plans.
  • New careers guidance for all schools and colleges.

The consultation on the National Skills fund gives the FDF an opportunity to continue making the case for food and drink courses to be included in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

If you have any questions or comments please contact Innovation and Skills Policy Manager, Mark Corbett.


FDF Scotland's response to the Scottish Government's programme for Government 2021-22

“We are delighted to see the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to supporting the recovery and growth of Scotland’s vital food and drink industry. "

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Joint letter: Recruitment crisis in the food and drink sector in Scotland

FDF Scotland with food and drink industry partners wrote a joint letter to the Scottish and UK Governments to highlight the recruitment crisis in the food and drink sector in Scotland.

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Top marks for new food learning zone

A Fife teacher has become the first to score a perfect 100% in a new online training resource for Scotland’s schools and colleges. The digital training platform aims to show teachers the importance of the whole food and drink chain, from farm to fork, linking it to curriculum subjects such as Biology, Geography, Maths, Environmental Science and Health and Food Technology.

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Next Welsh Government must support growth of vital food and drink industry

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Cymru and the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) have today launched what it sees as the key priorities for the next Welsh Government.

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All news

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.

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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.

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

24 October 2019

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.

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About FDF Scotland

What we do

Report: A recipe for growth, prosperity and sustainability

06 May 2020

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.

Read more