The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, a charitable organisation with over 400 years of supporting the fruit and fresh produce industry, is shifting its focus towards increasing recruitment and awareness of opportunities within their supply chain sector.

In an interview with www.producebusinessuk.com, Worshipful Company of Fruiterers Chair Graham Collier also warned that, due to Brexit, the industry was facing an exodus of foreign workers at all levels and across the supply chain, and needed to respond assertively and competitively in order to attract the best talent to work in the sector.

The organisation will be the headline sponsors at the Fresh Careers Fair in London on 8 March and will be launching initiatives to drive recruitment in all areas of the fresh produce supply chain. These will include a competition designed to raise awareness and encourage applications for supply chain jobs, with the first prize being a week-long expenses-paid internship at a fresh food business. The winning entrant will provide the best written pitch outlining their career aspirations within the sector.

One mature student and two undergraduate students will also receive £1,000 of prize money plus a visit to a business within the fresh food supply chain.

“The competition will be judged by leading academics and experts in the industry, together with the company’s liverymen,” Collier explained. “They will be high-level and very competitive. We’re hoping they will eke out some really talented people.”

Andrew Barclay, Pest Monitoring and Trials Manager at Berry Gardens, a UK soft fruit company, won the inaugural Fruiterers Under 30s Award to recognise a young person’s contribution to the fruit sector. The Fruiterers Company also funds apprenticeships and research projects, as well as offering awards, prizes and scholarships relating to the industry.

Collier said the industry needed to convey the message to young people that food supply chain jobs could be rewarding and well-paid while offering an exceptional career path.

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