Many thanks to Rosemary Gallagher, Head of Communications, Scotch Whisky Association for this guest post- great insights into the sector ( e.g. 81% of companies take on graduates with particular shortages in engineering and management)
Scotch Whisky is a product we’re rightly proud of. It’s made in Scotland from three raw materials of water, yeast and cereals and is enjoyed in around 200 markets across the globe. It makes up about two-thirds of the entire Scottish food and drink sector, and is three times the size of the country’s digital industry.
We often hear of the mysterious art of Scotch Whisky making and how numerous factors, such as Scotland’s climate, water and the casks used for maturation, impact its unique taste. One thing that’s a certainty is that Scotch Whisky relies on a skilled workforce.
That’s why we decided to publish our ‘Scotch Whisky, Skilled Workforce’ report this year. This explains the huge contribution the industry makes to developing the skills of everyone involved and the diverse range of roles available, while highlighting challenges and making recommendations for change.
The industry directly employs more than 10,000 people and supports a total of 40,000 jobs across the UK. Scotch Whisky plays a big role in rural communities where more than one in five of its employees live, and skills, such as blending and coopering, are passed down through generations. But the industry also employs thousands across central Scotland, for example in engineering, science and marketing.
And we don’t take our responsibilities lightly when it comes to supporting and developing our people: 96% of Scotch Whisky companies provide training to employees, compared to the Scottish national average of 71%; 81% of companies take on graduates and many offer apprenticeships and vocational on-the-job training.
But there are challenges, such as potential skills shortages in engineering and management, and we realise more can always be done. We have therefore devised a number of actions to address such issues. For example, we’ll work with the Scottish Government to promote its ‘Manufacturing Future for Scotland’ strategy and with Skills Development Scotland, we’ll highlight the importance of apprenticeships to the industry and we’ll promote online training.
Scotch Whisky has been made for more than 500 years and is therefore rich in heritage, skills and expertise. We’re committed to retaining this tradition while ensuring we have a workforce prepared for the future.
Scotch Whisky – investing in a skilled workforce: http://bit.ly/1T1UogD