United Biscuits (UB) has invited students from Parrs Wood High School to go behind-the-scenes at its McVitie’s factory as part of a new government initiative.

The year 10 students from the Manchester-based school toured the firm’s site as a result of the See Inside Manufacturing scheme, which aims to get young people interested in careers in manufacturing.

Lesley Flood, training co-ordinator at McVitie’s Manchester, said: “We are trying to change students’ views of manufacturing. We want them to see us as a great career opportunity with huge potential.

“We have a wide range of entrance levels from unskilled to apprentices, graduates and technical experts. We help and encourage our employees to work their way up the career ladder.”

Students toured UB’s factory and observed how its biscuit products, such as Jaffa Cakes, Chocolate Digestives and Penguins, were made. They were also able to meet different people from various roles in the factory to find out more about their jobs and the qualifications needed to do them.

In partnership with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), nearly 1,250 people will be visiting UK food and drink companies to learn more about the sector. 

Around 137,000 new recruits are needed by 2017 to replace those retiring or leaving the industry.

Terry Jones, director of communications, FDF, said: “UB is one of many companies across the UK opening their doors to young people and getting them excited about careers in manufacturing. Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, employing over 400,000 people. It offers great prospects to employees at all levels, from apprentice to seasoned professional, and is an important local employer.

“As an industry, we know that to realise our potential and to deliver our shared vision with government of 20% growth by 2020, we will need to attract the best talent.”