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Food and Drink Fellowship review


The Food and Drink Fellowship training course was launched in September 2010 in response to the perceived demand for formal accredited training for future highly skilled leaders in the Scottish food and drink industry. The first stage of the review aimed to provide options for further exploration of the demand for this type of training provision, in the form of an industry survey to be carried out in the second stage of the review. The second stage looked at some of the key issues related to the provision of, and demand for, leadership and management training within the Scottish food and drink sector. The overall objectives of the Fellowship were to: fast track future leaders of the industry; provide the individual and the business with the skills to pursue and manage growth; and realise business improvement.


The methodology of the first stage of the review consisted of: an analysis of documentation related to the Fellowship; a review of the availability of leadership and management training courses in Scotland, with specific emphasis on the food and drink sector where possible; and interviews with delivery partners, stakeholders, participating and non-participating companies. The second stage involved an online survey of managers of food and drinks companies, and potential participants in leadership and management training. There were 27 responses, of which 70 per cent were identified as managers, and 30 per cent as potential training participants.


The first stage of the review found that while there was no shortage of leadership and management courses available within Scotland, there was a lack of courses specifically for the food and drink sector. During the consultation exercise, a number of issues were raised about the operation of the Fellowship in terms of: a lack of ownership of the programme; limited marketing of the programme; the timing of the programme’s launch; the design of the programme, particularly around the value for money it provides, time taken out of work by participants, the focus on theoretical learning over practical application, and the flexibility of the course; and uncertainty over what qualification participants would receive. It was also noted that participants appreciated the peer networking opportunities offered by the programme, and that the three participants who completed the course all gained promoted posts. The survey carried out in the second stage of the review found that leadership and management is viewed as important among respondents. Sixty three per cent of the managers who responded indicated that they reviewed training needs annually, and 89 per cent considered investment in training as either important or very important to their company’s growth ambitions. It was noted that all respondents viewed the reputation of the training provider as more important than the course having a specific food and drink focus, and that only 68 per cent of manager respondents felt there was a need for leadership and management training provision tailored specifically to the food and drink industry. The report highlights that 78 per cent of all respondents indicated that they would be interested in participating in leadership and management development over the next three years.


The review proposes several options to be considered for the future delivery of the Fellowship, or similar training provision: run the programme again with modifications, including closer project management, agreed ownership, clearer lines of accountability, and more effective marketing, or close the programme; partner with a suitable provider who can bring leadership and management expertise to the training, and then tailor to the food and drink industry; develop a more flexible programme, which allows participants to choose the modules they feel are most relevant to them; focus the programme on project-based experiential learning, allowing participants more time to put theoretical learning into practice; factor the needs of the participating companies into the design of the course, including time spent out of the office by employees; and consider any additional food and drink specific training needs for managers, such as supply chain management.

Author EKOS
Published Year 2013
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Food and drink
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Leadership/management development