The UK food industry is aiming to tackle high levels of unemployment by marketing the sector in a more attractive manner to young people to encourage them to embark on a food-related career.
IGD, Britain's food and grocery research and training charity, is at the forefront of this cause, with its Feeding Britain's Future campaign set to launch its brand new School Pilot project.
The campaign has been running for three years, but recent research carried out by the charity led it to conclude that more needs to be done to educate school students about the different roles available within the food industry.
School Pilot will see representatives from leading businesses in the sector visit students aged between 13 and 17 to let them know which skills the industry classes as most desirable, while also giving teachers information they can pass on to pupils regarding food and grocery-related job opportunities.
Chief executive of IGD Joanne Denney-Finch OBE commented: "As the UK's biggest employer, the food and grocery industry is committed to playing its part in tackling unemployment, but more than that - our research shows we need to respond to appeals from our unemployed to gain valuable insight into the roles available in this industry and specific skills required to find jobs in this sector."
Research from IGD found unemployed people believe schools should offer careers advice in conjunction with major firms to increase knowledge about skills and real-world opportunities.
In addition, survey respondents felt many food industry positions were related to supermarkets and they did not know what else was available within the sector.
This is somewhat concerning, as statistics show there are approximately 611,000 unfilled job vacancies currently available in the UK, but also a serious lack of education surrounding these positions.
Last year, Feeding Britain's Future led to 97 per cent of programme participants feeling more confident about applying for a job, with 89 per cent interested in the food industry.
The School Pilot programme will begin in Nottingham, but the IGD has plans to roll it out throughout the rest of the country if it proves successful.