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Women and Work funding provides great results at VWA

Did you know that women make up just 32% of the workforce in food and drink manufacture? This percentage declines sharply when we take senior management roles into consideration.

Here at Verner Wheelock Associates, as members of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, we have helped to redress this imbalance by providing training through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills’ Women and Work initiative, with great success. In the past 3-4 months we have trained 13 women under the scheme, all of whom have passed with flying colours.  Around 30 more are due to attend training with VWA prior to the deadline of 31st March 2013.

The Women and Work project provides training grants to women from food manufacturing companies of any size in order to improve their skills and future prospects. VWA delegates benefiting from the funding hail from multinationals to smaller companies and even sole practitioners and have been able to complete advanced level courses in HACCP, Food Safety and Auditing Skills.  Companies who have successfully applied for the funding include Axgro, Bettys & Taylors, Bolling Coffee, Hill Biscuits, Jacksons Bakery, Odling Brothers Butchers, Pinneys of Scotland, Senoble, Strawsons, Tangerine Confectionery and Zeina Foods.

The funding of up to £800 per person, available through the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (NSAFD), has helped several women to acquire skills and qualifications that they might otherwise have been unable to achieve. A good example is Kate Pusey, who was recently awarded a Distinction in her Lead Auditor course, with an examination result of 99%.

She said “As a self employed food safety consultant paying for training hits me twice, as I have to fund myself and then cannot earn whilst on a course. Getting funding for the Lead Auditor course ( a 4 day residential course) was the only real way of me completing it. The Women and Work funding of £800 paid for just over half the fees and accommodation and spurred me forward to apply for the course that I had for some time wanted to complete. I had already completed my Level 4 HACCP with VWA and knew they were effective training providers.

The Lead Auditor course and certificate now enable me to show my clients that I have current, up-to- date knowledge and can provide them with the best possible service. I mostly help small food manufacturing and packaging companies become BRC certified and so am constantly raising food safety and hygiene standards within my area of work.”

Alison Wheelock, Managing Director of VWA, said of the scheme: “We are extremely pleased that NSAFD was able to access the Women & Work funding again. In previous years we have had some outstanding candidates through the scheme who, due to lack of budget, would otherwise have been unable to access the training required to further their careers.”

The grant can be used across a number of short courses including all levels of Food Safety, HACCP and specialist courses such as Allergen management and Labelling. At present, all the funding has been allocated, but watch this space for future rounds of funding. VWA is happy to assist with the application process and answer any queries candidates might have.

For more information, please contact Claire Lennon on 01756 700802 or email claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk