Food and drink manufacturers are being urged to help draft a new industry diploma, as well as share their experiences of training older workers.

Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, wants input from employers on a new vocational qualification for 14- to 19-year-olds that will be an alternative to traditional GCSEs and A-levels. Chief executive Jack Matthews said: “It will combine practical work with technical theory and, as it’s being designed by employers, will lay an important foundation for a range of initiatives to help close skills gaps and reduce skills shortages.”

Employers can log onto where their feedback will be used to design the new qualification so that it responds to their needs.

Improve has also commissioned research to find out what practices the industry has in place to develop older workers’ skills. It will gather case studies to help employers understand how best to comply with new EU age discrimination legislation which takes effect in October.