Food and drink manufacturers have trebled the number of apprenticeships they have taken on – smashing an original target to double apprenticeships by the end of 2012.

Speaking at the Food and Drink Federation’s annual president’s reception yesterday, FDF president Jim Moseley revealed that latest data from the National Apprenticeship Service and the sector skills council, Improve, showed that since August 2011 there were 5,281 apprenticeship starts in food and drink manufacturing businesses.

Apprenticeships now make up 1.3% of the overall food and drink manufacturing workforce - up from 0.4% in 2010/11.

“With people at the heart of our FDF centenary celebrations next year, I am delighted that we have beaten our Apprenticeship Pledge target by trebling our apprentice numbers in 2012,” Moseley said.

“Our Apprenticeship Pledge is key to attracting the talented individuals that we need for the future, enabling us to achieve our joint vision with government to grow our sector 20% by 2020.

“Having so many great companies on-board, offering quality apprenticeships is a sign of our industry’s commitment to support the next generation of skilled food and drink employees and to achieving our vision,” he added.