IGD announces eight essential employability skills for the future

Date : 07 April 2017

IGD, the research and training charity for the food and grocery industry, has identified eight essential employability skills that will help set students up for future success in the food and grocery industry. The eight essential skills were developed in consultation with 18 senior HR professionals and education and employability experts and will play a significant role in IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future workshops.

The one to one interviews and feedback from IGD’s expert HR group were supported by a comprehensive literature review of existing work on skills from a wide range of organisations, in addition to IGD’s research into the supply chain skills gap, which included a quantitative survey of 150 supply chain professionals.

The eight essential employability skills identified are:

Entrepreneurial: The food and grocery industry is teeming with start-up companies that are founded on drive and spirit to try something new and launch products to market. Shoppers are always looking for new and interesting products and the industry needs curious people who can spot these opportunities.

Creativity: Some of the nation’s most loved food and grocery products and brands started off as an idea. For those good at bringing ideas to life, from marketing roles to packaging design, the industry needs creative-thinkers who can share their vision with others.

Teamwork: Products don’t appear on supermarket shelves by magic; there’s a huge and complex supply chain working behind the scenes to get the right product, at the right time, in front of the right person to buy it. This involves an immense team of people working together to achieve a common goal.

Communication: From translating technical product information into shopper-friendly messages to providing great customer service on Twitter, there are hundreds of opportunities across the food and grocery industry to use your communication skills.

Leadership: All companies need inspiring and confident people to move their business in the right direction and the opportunities in food and grocery are boundless. Many senior figures in food and grocery companies started on the shop or factory floor and with hard work, determination and resilience, have worked their way up.

Digital: From ensuring shoppers can buy groceries on their smartphones to making deliveries by drones, technology is transforming the food and grocery industry. Having the digital skills to respond to the latest trends while applying it to the real world is crucial.

Practical: The food and grocery industry is built on people who think practically to discover why and how things work. From transport engineers to manufacturing roles, practical skills sit at the heart of the food and grocery supply chain.

Analytical: From food scientists ensuring food is safe to consume, to supply chain analysts able to distil data and insights to move products from farm to shelf efficiently, there are a vast number of opportunities for those with analytical skills in food and grocery.

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD Chief Executive, said: “The world of work is changing dramatically and many of the jobs of the future do not yet exist. This is especially so in the food and grocery industry as new technologies are adopted, social and consumer trends change and organisations become more complex. While this creates new challenges, it also creates fantastic opportunities for those who possess the skills most in demand.

“We expect the eight essential employability skills to be highly valued by our industry in the future and they form the linchpin of our Feeding Britain’s Future Schools Programme. All our Feeding Britain’s Future workshops are attended by food and grocery industry professionals who share their experiences and bring these eight employability skills to life for students. Showcasing the industry in this way highlights to students how important these skills are in the world of work.”

Alongside the eight employability skills, IGD has launched a new five minute video to showcase the diverse range of roles available in the food and grocery supply chain and highlight how people use these skills at work. The video aims to change perceptions of the food and grocery industry by revealing the range of exciting and dynamic jobs available, straight from the young people doing those roles. The video is played at the start of each Feeding Britain’s Future workshop and is available to view here.

Since the Feeding Britain’s Future Schools Programme began in 2015, 15,000 students have attended a workshop. The programme will increase its impact in 2017 and is aiming to train 10,000 students by running more workshops in secondary schools and increasing the number of longer-term partnerships between schools and companies.


Notes to editors:

  1. IGD is a training and research charity that helps the food and grocery industry deliver the needs of the public. Our in-depth understanding of shoppers, retailing and supply chains is supported by our knowledge of broader topics affecting the industry – health, nutrition, sustainability and economics among them. This endows us with unparalleled insight that can help identify opportunities to improve performance and tackle business challenges. Our reach is global, with experts based in the UK, Singapore and North America. We invest the money we make from selling our expertise back into the industry through our charitable activities
  2. The nationwide Schools Programme is part of IGD’s Feeding Britain’s Future campaign, which is now in its sixth year
  3. The Schools Programme helps Year 9 and Year 12 students by giving guidance on the skills needed in the workplace and insight into the variety of jobs available in the food and grocery supply chain
  4. IGD’s Supply Chain skills gap research can be found here: https://www.igd.com/Research/Supply-chain/Infographic-skills-gaps-in-the-supply-chain/
  5. Follow IGD’s comms team on Twitter @Comms_IGD

For more information contact:

Laura John or Alexandra Crisp on:

[email protected] / [email protected] or 01923 851 924 / 01923 857 141

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