A Lurgan man is spearheading a new collaborative network aimed at tackling the skills shortage within the food and drink sector.
Harvesting Tomorrow’s Skills (HTS), funded by Invest Northern Ireland, is a two-year programme which aims to help recruit an extra 15k people to the agri-food sector by 2020.
Invest NI has offered £169,400 to support the HTS network which, led by NI Food & Drink Association (NIFDA), is focussed on improving knowledge, addressing the skills gap and enhancing the sector’s career appeal to young people.
A recent survey showed 47% of employers said they were unable to recruit staff with the required level of skills, while 56% of school-leavers stated they were unaware of career opportunities in the sector.
Lurgan man Harry Hamilton is project facilitator said: “As NI’s biggest employer, the priority is to attract real talent to our food and drink sector. We need to develop a people pipeline across all levels and abilities which will ensure the sector’s long term viability.”