Varadkar launches 'Feeding Ireland's Future' initiative

The scheme will see some of the largest food and grocery companies in Ireland providing young people with skills and advice on getting in to the industry

Some of the largest food and grocery companies in Ireland are joining a government initiative to tackle youth unemployment and provide first-hand advice to help young people get ahead in the food industry.

The ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future’ initiative - now in its fourth year - aims to provide young unemployed people with skills and advice on getting into the food and grocery workforce.

Kicking off next week, the initiative includes on-site skills workshops and visits to factories to get first-hand experience on the industry.

Dozens of sessions are being held this month to provide help and advice on personal brand development, CV creation, interview techniques and behind the scenes tours of factories, depots and offices.

Companies including Danone, Unilever, Heineken Ireland, Britvic and Keelings will be meeting with 550 young people under the age of 24 as part of the scheme.

Company employees will share their personal career journeys with those in attendance and discuss how they achieved their career goals.

The Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar launched the 2017 initiative at a special event in Farmleigh this morning.

“This is a brilliant scheme and I’m really pleased that more young people can get on-site experience and first-hand advice directly from companies this year,” he said.

“The best way to find work is to know what an employer is looking for. So this is a great example of partnership between State and private sector.”

“I look forward to similar schemes being developed with other sectors in the future.”

The Department of Social Welfare said that 99% of those who participated in the scheme in 2016 said they felt more confident about applying for a job after taking part.

Almost 4,000 young people have taken part in the skills session since the initiative was introduced.

"We are delighted to be involved again in Feeding Ireland's Future,” said Nick Johnson, the Managing Director of Unilever. “Today's young people are tomorrow's workforce, so investing in and inspiring our young people is critical for our sustained business success.”