Career Information

Why choose a career in food?

The production and distribution of food is the largest and most important economic activity in the world. The health and welfare of people everywhere depend on good agricultural yields and on the reliable storage, successful processing and safe handling of all types of food. Food professionals work in many occupations including industry (manufacturing, retailing and food service), universities and schools, government, research and development, quality assurance and food law enforcement. 

The food sector is crying out for well-qualified and experienced specialists who can play their part in the complex and increasingly sophisticated food supply system. 

Food Matters Careers

IFST is delighted to be supporting the Food Matters Careers initiative, which brings together with students, academia, and the sector for one-to-one meetings, job vacancies, roundtables, live events and webinars.  Registration to the platform is free for students.  Members, sector employers, and academia are encouraged to get involved to support the development of the next generation of food professionals.

Which path to take?

If you're not certain which route into the food sector is right for you, we have compiled a set of links from various sources to help guide you.

Institute for Apprenticeships - developed a factsheet for any employer that has identified a skills shortage in their sector or who would like to create an alternative route for recruitment through the development of an occupational apprenticeship standard. 

Educations and Skills funding Agency - developed a range of guides to apprenticeships (1) (2)

Competencies for Food Graduate Careers - developed in collaboration with IFST and representatives from SMEs, retailers, manufacturers, research and development, higher education Institutions, the document explores what makes a ‘great graduate for the food industry’ and how educational providers can optimise the curricula to facilitate this.

Tasty Careers - have produced a careers map which shows the career path opportunities within the food and drink sector.​ It also contains industry career information detailing typical duties and what you can expect of the job, salary and qualifications required. Industry vacancies are also advertised on the website, allowing you to get a feel for the work you could be getting involved in.  

Taste Success - (led by the Food and Drink Federation FDF) have also produced their own series of careers maps (1) (2) (3) to show the different jobs involved in taking a product from conception to the shelves.

FDF Scotland - have produced graphics to illustrate some different roles in the food industry (1) (2) (3) (4

Chilled Education - gives unique insights into the chilled food sector through career path interviews with industry professionals and case studies of graduates in the early stages of their careers. The website also has job descriptions outlining duties expected and qualification requirements needed for the roles available in the chilled food industry.

UCAS Explore jobs - UCAS have listed potential jobs for students that wish to study Food Technology.

Food and Drink Training & Education Council (ftc)- ftc design food industry apprenticeships, and led the development of the Butchery Trailblazer Apprenticeship. Visit their website to find out how apprenticeships have changed for the better, and what being an apprentice butcher involves.

Bright Crop - have produced interviews with those employed in the farming and food industry, showing that a career in the agricultural field is not limited to just mud and wellies.

Apprentice Ambassadors Network (AAN) & Young Apprentice Ambassadors Network (YAAN)

Amazing Apprenticeships - Apprenticeships engagement – in schools, teacher mentors, resources, packs for parents/teachers.

Available grants

Somerset's Dairy Careers Project - if you are worried about finances you may be able to secure funding for studying resources; like uniform, materials, equipment and study based trips/visits or travel costs. 

Henry Plumb Foundation - if you're aged between 18-35 you could have the opportunity to apply for a grant (ranging from £500-£3000) to further your interests, business ideas or study plans that will lead to a career in the agricultural or food industry.

For Employers 

Education and Skills Funding Agency - Support for employers on education and skills -Information for employers on work-based education programmes, including information on apprenticeships, T Levels and traineeships.

National Apprenticeship Service - Transfer from levy payers to non-levy employers.

Healthcare Apprenticeships (HASO) - A helpful toolkit for recruiting and working with an apprentice.