PM wants more jobs and training in the UK food industry

David Cameron is urging firms in the British food industry to train youngsters and enable them to move from the shop floor to the boardroom.

Speaking at an event to mark the industry's inaugural Skills Week at Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the UK's reputation for food had improved markedly over the past two decades and he encouraged business bosses to create even more jobs.

However, Mr Cameron also used the platform to ask the assembled supermarket chief executives and food production firms to concentrate on the quality of apprenticeships to make social mobility a realistic prospect.

"We want to see jobs in our country where there is a real ability to go from the shop floor to the boardroom, real social mobility," he said.

"We now need to focus on quality not just quantity of those apprenticeships and making sure young people have really rewarding careers."

The event, which was held in conjunction with the Institute of Grocery Distribution to coincide with its Feeding Britain's Future initiative, was also attended by a host of young workers in the industry.

And the new Environment Secretary Owen Paterson spoke about the prominent role the UK food industry is playing in the country's economic recovery. But he warned that the right people need to be hired and trained to continue its success.

"The food sector is helping to drive the UK's economic recovery and has ambitious plans for further growth, seizing the export opportunities offered by soaring global demand for high-quality British products," he said.

"But this will only happen if we get the right people into the right jobs, and give them the skills to use new ideas and technology to keep UK businesses at the forefront of the global food industry."

Among his other activities, the Prime Minister has also ordered a review of the Olympics and Paralympics, which will be coordinated by the Cabinet Secretary, to make sure that the Government learns lessons from the successes of the events' organisation. The Paralympics came to an end last weekend.

Copyright Press Association 2012