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Welsh Government launches £3m food and drink skills fund

The ‘Food Skills Cymru’ training programme will fund technical and staff development training for food and drink companies across Wales.

Welsh cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has launched a new £3m fund aimed at food and drink businesses across Wales.

Speaking at the ‘Invest in Skills: Invest in Growth’, the cabinet secretary confirmed the programme will launch on 1 April and run until 2023.

The programme, which will be run by Lantra, will include accredited and non-accredited training plus in-house company bespoke support. Over the first three years, the programme is expected to support 650 businesses.

It will be available to all food supply chain businesses outside retail and intervention rates will be in line with the complementary support offered through Business Wales Skills Gateway, Project Helix and Cywain.

Griffiths said: “There is no doubt that Welsh Food and drink is already a success story. The turnover for the sector has increased strongly to £6.9bn and is edging ever nearer to meeting our ambitious 2020 targets early. 

“Our detailed action plan for the industry sets out our vision of growing the scale of the sector, strengthening its brand and markets, and doing all these things in a sustainable way. Central to this is the ability to attract and retain a talented workforce and drive up skills within the industry.

“I am delighted to announce £3m of funding for the development of ‘Food Skills Cymru’ – a package of technical and staff development training for food and drink companies based in Wales.

“This demonstrates our commitment to developing the skills of the industry and I am confident it can and will continue to grow to form an important backbone of the Welsh economy.”

During the conference, the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board also launched a new skills strategy and leading companies, including Halen Môn, Bangor Mussels producers and Puffin Produce, signed up to a Welsh Skills pledge.

As part of the pledge, they will commit to a range of actions including sending company ambassadors into schools, hosting visits at their manufacturing sites and promoting career opportunities within their local communities.