Food companies queue up to pass on skills to young unemployed

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Feeding Ireland’s Future 2017, 20th to 31st March 2017 

Monday, 13th March 2017:  Young people from across Ireland will get first hand advice from some of Ireland’s leading food and groceries companies and HR experts  during the ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future’ initiative, which takes place next week.

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar today attended a special event at Farmleigh to meet with companies who will be providing pre-employment skills for young unemployed people later this month. The companies are providing pre-employment skills for 550 young people under 24 years through the ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future 2017’ initiative, which runs this month.

Companies signed up include some of Ireland’s leading names: Danone, Unilever, Heineken Ireland, Britvic, Keelings, Musgrave Group, Nestlé, and Wyeth Nutrition (full list below).

The scheme is now in its fourth year and is run through the Department of Social Protection’s Intreo service, Youthreach and ECR Ireland. Dozens of sessions are being held this month to help young people to secure employment, including site visits to companies and factories to get first-hand experience, and on-site skills workshops.

Help and advice is being given on developing your own personal brand, CV writing, interview techniques and behind the scenes tours of factories, depots and offices. Company employees will share their personal career journeys and how they achieved their goals.

Some of the young people who took part in Feeding Ireland’s Future in 2016, said it “gave an incredible confidence boost through the CV and Interview Feedback” and that they realised they “don’t have to have a degree to get on in life.”  99% of those who participated said they were more confident about applying for a job after taking part in Feeding Ireland’s Future.

Minister Varadkar said: “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. 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 partnership with Youthreach, a Department of Education and Skills official education, training and work experience programme for early school leavers continues this year.  Company representatives will host seminars with groups of young people in Jobreach Centres giving advice and conducting interactive learning sessions about CV skills, interview techniques, skills training and personal development to the young students.

The programme is being promoted by ECR Ireland, with the support of its members, in partnership with the Department of Social Protection through its Intreo service.

Declan Carolan, General Manager, ECR Ireland said: “Feeding Ireland's Future is an initiative whereby retailers, suppliers and service providers to the Irish food and grocery sector give free pre-employment skills to young unemployment people and early school leavers.  This is the fourth year that ECR Ireland has promoted FIF which has seen skills sessions delivered to almost 4,000 young people.”   

Nick Johnson, MD, Unilever stated: "We are delighted to be involved again in Feeding Ireland's Future.  Today's young people are tomorrow's workforce, so investing in and inspiring our young people is critical for our sustained business success."

Companies signed up for Feeding Ireland’s Future 2017:


Johnson & Johnson


Kantar Worldpanel



Delta Group

Kerry Foods

Dinkins Bakery

Mars Ireland

DSV Logistics

Maxol Group

Dublin Business School


Engage Consultants


Excel Recruitment




Gleneagle Hotel Group

Primeline Logistics



Heineken Ireland


Irish Distillers

Wyeth Nutrition


About ECR Ireland

Efficient Consumer Response Ireland (ECR) was established in 1998 to promote and educate the Irish Business Community about Efficient Consumer Response and the benefits it brings. It is the official ECR organisation in Ireland and is a member of ECR Europe. The board is comprised of senior executives from a selection of retailers and suppliers operating in Ireland whose purpose it is to represent the sectors within which they trade.  

ECR Ireland encourages long term co-operation between retail trading partners to drive costs out of the supply chain and benefit the Irish consumer. It does this by developing industry best practices, promoting their adoption and providing education and guidance on key demand side & supply chain issues. It is committed to the implementation of ECR principles by Irish companies and is a not for profit organisation.

About Intreo

Intreo is a service from the Department of Social Protection which helps those unemployed with their employment and income support services needs. Intreo provides a personalised service, based on individual needs including; advice on education, training and personal development opportunities, job search assistance as well as information on and access to the range of income supports available.

About Youthreach

YOUTHREACH is an integral part of the national programme of second-chance education and training in Ireland and is a central part of the Government's contribution to the achievement of a lifelong learning society.

The programme is for unemployed young early school leavers aged 15-20. It offers participants the opportunity to identify and pursue viable options within adult life, and provides them with opportunities to acquire certification.  The programme is intended to facilitate young people in returning to learning and preparing for employment and adult life.  There are 3700 places in 107 YOUTHREACH Centres nationally.

Last modified:13/03/2017