Reaseheath College’s Food Centre in Cheshire has started to deliver a new industry led training course to help Welsh dairies upskill their staff.
The Level 2 Award in Dairy Industry Operations is an accredited award being delivered on site to a group of dairy businesses which are part of the Wales Dairy Industry Skills Partnership (WDISP). Delivery began in December 2017 following two years of development involving Reaseheath, the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, our dairy partners, the awarding body Agored Cymru and Welsh Government (which funds 50% of the training through the Flexible Skills Programme).
The theory only course is aimed at providing employees with a solid grounding in the dairy industry. It is hoped that the learners will develop a good level of product knowledge and understanding, enabling them to make an immediate, productive and positive contribution to their employer.
The first session, run over three days, was attended by 33 operatives from six dairies:
- Glanbia Cheese Ltd, Anglesey
- South Caernarfon Creameries Ltd, Pwllheli
- Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy, Denbigh
- Plas Farm, Anglesey
- Arla Creamery, Llandyrnog
- Tomlinsons Dairy, Wrexham
Since then the course has expanded into south Wales for employees from Volac International and Mark Hunter Ltd. The training is delivered by food industry trainers Russell Brown and Mark Ellis, and the companies take it in turn to host the sessions.
The course, which takes between 12 – 18 months to complete, consists of five mandatory modules and five optional modules. Learners’ complete specified sections pre-session and their work is discussed and reviewed during the training day, when portfolios are completed. Multiple choice questions are also used to test knowledge.
Details of the new qualification were announced in October 2017 at Skills Cymru, the largest careers, jobs and skills event in Wales, and there are indications that collaborations of dairies in other parts of Wales may come on board. The Government levy for part-payment of training is only available in Wales and is aimed at boosting the region’s economy.
Discussions are now being held into the possibility of creating a new Level 3 qualification to support the Level 2 Award in Industry Operations.
Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning Minister, Eluned Morgan, said: “The food and drinks industry is of vital importance to the Welsh economy and ensuring it
has the right skills and qualifications to meet future needs is crucial. I am pleased we have been able to support the introduction of this new dairy qualification, which will support the industry and help to drive up standards enabling the sector to stay competitive in global marketplaces”.
Rural Affairs Secretary, Lesley Griffiths added: “Wales’ food and drink industry is a huge asset. It contributes increasingly to our economy, creating jobs and careers where skills matter. The dairy sector also plays an important role in supporting our rural communities and we are committed to ensuring the long term viability and profitability of the sector.”
Reaseheath’s Head of Food Nick Blakemore emphasised: “We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver bespoke training solutions for the food and drink sector and have been delighted at the early success of this new, industry-led qualification.”
Heather Broughton, Senior HR Manager for Glanbia Cheese, said: “We are delighted to be part of the development of this Level 2 Award which we believe will enhance the knowledge of our employees and enable them to deliver the outstanding product required by our global customers. The professional delivery by Reaseheath has been commended by our participants who have commented that the training “really made me appreciate and acknowledge the efforts we take to meet our customers’ standards”.