UK grants money to train women managers

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Apprenticeship, Management

Women looking to break through the glass barrier in the UK's food
manufacturing sector will haveaccess to management training under a
£500,000 public grant.

The money will be channelled through Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, whichwill use the money to subsidise training for 500 women employees. The training will allow them to achieve a management qualification within the next twoyears, the government-funded organisation stated.

Improve is one of the first five sector skills councils in the UK to secure the funding under thegovernment programme, which aims to encourage women to pursue careers in traditionally male-dominated industries.Currently just 23 per cent of the food manufacturing sector's managers are women.

The project is also a response to the looming skills shortage at the managerial level in foodmanufacturing. The sector needs to recruit 38,000 new managers and supervisors between now and 2014 to replace those who leave and to fill vacantpositions, according to a study by the organisation.

Increasing the skills of existing employees by providing relevant training will help avoid this skillsshortage, Improve stated.

Jack Matthews, Improve's chief executive, said food and drink manufacturing has long been a male-dominated industry, especially at managementlevel.

"This project will equip women with the skills and knowledge to take on more senior roles, helping to increase their earning potential and further their careerdevelopment,"​ Matthews stated. "Boosting the number of women managers in food and drink will also help to change outdated perceptions that have in the past deterred many women from joining the sector."

The organisation will work directly with 25 food and drink manufacturers, providing tailored training for existing female employees to help them achieve a managementnational vocational qualification at level three, the equivalent to two A-levels.

Pat O'Driscoll, chief executive of Northern Foods, has agreed to participate in the project.

"This is a fantastic opportunity that will allow us to provide a number of our female workers with extra training at a reducedcost," she said. "The skills they learn will help them to climb the career ladder, allowing them to take on more senior positions."

Improve is one of 25 sector skills councils established by the government to foster the increasein skills in the workplace in order to promote higher productivity and stronger competitiveness for UK businesses.

While the councils are funded primarily by the government, employers also provide some supportfor training and skills development.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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