Apprenticeships are a key part of the FDF’s skills work. The current focus of our work includes requests for short and long-term apprenticeship levy reform report, especially during the critical period of recovery from Covid-19.

  • Extending or removing the 24-month expiry date to levy funds
  • Fund 100% of SME training costs
  • Allow employers to work flexibly with providers on the 20% off-the-job training requirement
  • Commit to a comprehensive consultation on apprenticeships and the levy fund as a step towards creating a more flexible ‘skills levy’.

We aim to improve training provision for our sector through the creation of a national network of providers that works closely with industry that can deliver the diverse and specialist skills needed across all regions of the UK.

The FDF is also working with our members and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink on the creation of a Food and Drink supply chain transfer fund to maximise the use of levy funds across the sector.

Updates & milestones

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 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.

National Apprenticeships Awards 2021


The National Apprenticeship Awards 2021 will be open for entries from 5th July to 28th July 2021.  These awards are a great opportunity for recognition of your apprentices and for your business. It’s also a great way to raise the profile of the industry.

There are nine categories to recognise exceptional employers, apprentices and apprenticeships champions.

Employer of the Year categories
•  SME Employer of the Year (for organisations with 1 to 249 employees)
•  Large Employer of the Year (for organisations with 250 to 4,999 employees)
•  Macro Employer of the Year (for organisations with 5,000+ employees)
•  Recruitment Excellence (Selected from Employer of the Year award entries, and awarded to an organisation that has recruited a diverse and high quality apprenticeship workforce).
Apprentice of the Year and Apprenticeship Champion categories
•  Intermediate Apprentice of the Year (level 2)   
•  Advanced Apprentice of the Year (level 3)
•  Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year (level 4 or higher)
•  Rising Star of the Year* (Apprentices that have made impressive progress in their career to date, and have the potential to go even further. Nominations are made by their employer).
• Apprenticeship Champion of the Year (Individuals who go ‘above and beyond’ to champion apprenticeships. Nominations are made by a colleague or contact who recognises an individual’s ‘champion’ credentials).

*The Rising Star category will not include a public vote this year due to the condensed format of the awards.

It is free to enter, entries must be made through the application website.  Hints and tips for applications and information on the awards process will be available on the site late June 2021.

The Awards themselves will take place regionally in October 2021.  The national ceremony will be on Wednesday 1st December.

If you are planning to enter the awards, please send a note to Tanya and let us know.

National Apprenticeship Week Roundtable


For National Apprenticeship Week, the FDF partnered with Grant Thornton UK LLP in hosting a roundtable exploring how large and small businesses can support each other to increase take-up of apprentices in our industry. We had great representation from across the industry and a lively discussion that saw some exciting ideas that we look forward to implementing.

Some of the main themes that emerged from the conversation included

  • facilitating the sharing of good practice between large and small business to maximise transfer of the levy
  • ideas to move past the unpopular terminology of ‘20% off-the-job’
  • and how we can facilitate better connectivity between employers, schools, providers and colleges. 

Read more about the topics discussed

We plan to bring these ideas to our FDF forums over the coming months to develop further and continue to ‘Build the Future’ through apprenticeships.  If you are interested in joining these conversations please get in touch with 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

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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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