The food industry is notorious for high staff turnover, according to Heath Roberts, marketing manager for Parkhouse Personnel. Employees are now unlikely to stay in the same job for more than five years. "The food industry is often blamed for high staff turnover, but the roots are rarely identified," says Roberts. Job satisfaction is often passed over as employers push staff harder in the quest for overall company goals. "There is a growing demand for higher productivity and improved performance by trained and immediately productive employees," says Roberts. And companies are all for recruiting staff who can "hit the ground running" and have an immediate impact on a company's service level and overall productivity. The winners are companies which pay more and offer regular training and appraisal schemes. "Training or the lack of it has invariably played its part in the food industry's high staff turnover. The feelgood factor that comes with any training programme can be phenomenal." One of the results is that staff immediately begin to feel more confident in their abilities and are more motivated in their work. "But in addition to the employees' gain, the real long-term beneficiary is the company." There is, says Roberts, a growing interest in sponsoring employees to attend courses available from a wide range of sources. From basic food hygiene and nutrition courses, there are National Vocational Qualifications and higher levels of study organised through universities and local colleges. But the workplace can be a productive place for training, too. "Many of these courses provide skill building exercises that can often be undertaken on a company's premises. "These are regulated and realistic," says Roberts. One trainer, Marhall Jones, who works for Newport agency Kelter Training, says: "Skills can be acquired far quicker in a working and productive environment than in a classroom. "We have increasingly recognised the benefits of training and the skills employees can obtain from training in a different area within the food company where they are employed. "Students not only learn the relevant food hygiene skills but also gain an understanding of working procedures and equipment." {{PEOPLE MOVES }}