The Food & Drink Federation (FDF) is to hold a series of job workshops as part of its pledge to double the number of apprenticeships to 3,400 by the end of 2012.

During 2012, FDF will be working with its key partners – the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Skills Academy for food and drink – to run events across the UK, including the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire.

Its first event will be held at the William Reed-organised Food and Drink Expo at the NEC Birmingham on the afternoon of Monday 26 March.

Speakers will be on hand from the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Skills Academy for food and drink, who will give food manufacturers advice on how to get the most from apprenticeships.  Representatives from food manufacturers will be sharing their experiences, as well as apprentices themselves, who will give the lowdown on their new careers.

Angela Coleshill, FDF’s director of competitiveness, said: “There is certainly an appetite for investment in skills, which is why FDF members are taking collective action to help us build a pool of talented apprentices that can be developed and deployed across the industry – building skills for the future.

“There is still work to be done to communicate to young people the wide variety of exciting roles on offer in the food industry, many of which are highlighted through some inspiring case studies on our website.”

A spokesperson from the National Apprenticeship Service added: “The National Apprenticeship Service is pleased to be working with FDF and its members to create high-quality apprenticeships within the food manufacturing industry. Apprenticeships are a proven way to develop well-trained staff, who are motivated, loyal and will grow with the business.”

Justine Fosh, director at the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink welcomed the initiative because, “In the past apprenticeships have been seen as mainly relevant to engineering roles, but this is simply not the case now.”

She added: “As specialists in food industry training, and as part of Improve – the organisation that designs apprenticeships for our industry – we can assist any food business interested in apprenticeship activity. We are offering all FDF members, as part of the pledge, a personal visit and free one-to-one advice sessions to help them get started or expand their apprenticeship activity.”