Surge in food and drink Modern Apprenticeships

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A record 650 Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) have been supported in the food and drink sector during the past year, Education Secretary Michael Russell announced today.

Mr Russell was speaking at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh where he outlined the importance of skills development within the sector, particularly during the Year of Food and Drink, to strengthen Scotland’s workforce and economic recovery.


A record 650 Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) have been supported in the food and drink sector during the past year, Education Secretary Michael Russell announced today.

Mr Russell was speaking at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh where he outlined the importance of skills development within the sector, particularly during the Year of Food and Drink, to strengthen Scotland’s workforce and economic recovery.

Skills Development Scotland supported 650 MAs in food manufacture, agricultural crops and livestock, bakery and the meat industry from April 2009 to March 2010. This compared to a total of 49 MAs the previous year.

This year, up to 20,000 MAs and more than 40,000 training opportunities overall are on offer to support all sectors of our economy, including food and drink.

Mr Russell said:

“Scotland’s food and drink sector employs around 360,000 people. It has significant economic value and supports a host of livelihoods within the farming, fishing, manufacturing hospitality and tourism industries.

“The Scottish Government has launched a Year of Food and Drink in partnership with Scottish tourism businesses in a national drive to promote Scotland as a land of food and drink. We know that £1 in every £5 spent by a tourist in Scotland is on food and drink related activity and Scotland Food and Drink has a target to grow the industry to £12.5 billion by 2017.

“It is therefore paramount that we have a competitive workforce, equipped with the right skills, to match the potential and ambition of the sector. This is why Skills Development Scotland last year delivered a 13-fold increase in the amount of MAs in the sector.

“As a Government we are committed to supporting a strong economic recovery with the longer term aim of increasing sustainable economic growth. The food and drink sector is a key part of these plans.”