AIMS calls on Government to act over skills shortages

AIMS calls on Government to act over skills shortages

AIMS, The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers has called on the Department for Education to make changes to both the Lifetime Skills Guarantee and to T-Levels to help address the shortage of labour in the meat processing sector.

“Our industry has, for many years, been reliant on labour from the EU. However, a combination of Brexit and the pandemic has seen much of this workforce return to mainland Europe,” said Tony Goodger, a spokesperson for AIMS.

“Many of our members have been plunged into a crisis just at the time when the economy should be rebuilding and despite the migration advisory committee’s recommendation that butchers be included on the shortage occupation list, correspondence we have received from the Home Office has advised us that investment and development of the UK’s domestic labour force should take priority, rather than migrant labour being the solution to recruitment difficulties,” said Goodger.

Speaking about the Levelling Up agenda last week, the Prime Minister said:

“…that is why we are rolling out T-levels and apprenticeships because we know that higher level apprentices earn more than the average graduate five years after graduation. That’s why we’re creating the lifetime skills guarantee…”

Goodger continued. “If we are to invest and develop the UK’s domestic labour force, then we need better support from the Government than that which is currently on offer. We have written to Gillian Keegan MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills, asking that the T-Level in ‘engineering, manufacturing, processing and control’ which at present has no start date be introduced in September 2022 at the very latest and ideally a food sector specific T-Level be introduced.

“As regards the ‘Lifetime Skills Guarantee’ we find it remiss that not one of the 400 Level 3 training courses on offer is for qualifications within the food processing industry. Looking at the list of service providers we know that several offer food industry related courses and urge the Government to act immediately and add these to the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.”

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