Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Mayor urges businesses to support FareShare in tackling regional skills shortages

MAYOR of the West Midlands Andy Street visited Fareshare Midlands to discover how it is building on its overall mission to fight hunger and tackle food waste, by creating opportunities through a range of programmes designed to give individuals the skills and qualifications they need to enter the workforce.

Andy Street was elected as Mayor of the West Midlands in 2017 and champions investment in jobs, skills and education in the county. FareShare Midlands is the region’s largest food redistribution charity, feeding 67,000 people every week through a network of 500 charities and community groups. Last year they distributed enough food to supply 13 million meals to vulnerable people struggling to make ends meet.

The Mayor learned how each day FareShare Midlands receives healthy surplus food from the food industry into three warehouses, where it is sorted and stored by dedicated teams of staff and volunteers. As well as providing vital food supplies for people in need across the West Midlands, it also creates the ideal learning environment to offer jobseekers accredited qualifications in areas such as warehousing and logistics, forklift truck training and food safety.

People can find themselves unemployed for many reasons, and the increase in the costs of food, energy and fuel has only exacerbated this. Unemployment can lead to financial hardship, debt and stress while having a negative effect on confidence, self-esteem and mental health. 

FareShare Midlands Employability programmes are designed to fight these barriers and offer West Midlands employers the chance to easily access a pool of potential employees who will be trained and ready to work. The FareShare Midlands Team provides training, work experience and job interviews through the I-Can Programme, funded by Birmingham City Council’s Pure Project. Thanks to a grant award by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), FareShare Midlands will soon be expanding their work to offer in-work adults free, flexible online and face-to-face taster sessions, to help people improve their numeracy, secure better paid jobs and help manage cost of living challenges.

FareShare Midlands’ work has recently been recognized by His Majesty King Charles III with the launch of the Coronation Food Project. This landmark initiative aims to tackle food waste and food insecurity across all four nations of the United Kingdom, with FareShare a central partner. With His Majesty’s drive to convene people into this space, FareShare Midlands is looking to open new doors for food, funding, and volunteer support, enabling them to increase their reach and impact even further to meet the ever-rising need.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“No one should struggle to put food on the table especially when there are millions of tonnes simply being thrown away each year.

“FareShare’s incredible work in taking some of that food and turning it into millions of meals for people and charities across the region provides a genuine lifeline for many and helps tackle this food waste problem head-on.

“But FareShare support people in other ways too, helping them get back into work or secure a better job through the skills training they provide. This work is commendable and deserves our support, which is why I was pleased we could make some grant funding available – and why I am urging our region’s businesses to tap into their generosity and get behind FareShare.” 

Simone Connolly, Chief Executive, of FareShare Midlands said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome the Mayor to our Nechells depot and to offer a glimpse into our overarching mission to fight hunger, tackle food waste and create opportunities. We are delighted that the Mayor recognises our desire to help even more vulnerable members of society to improve their lives for the long term.

“By providing flexible employability services we are offering meaningful support to those facing financial hardship, food poverty and social isolation. We invite employers with warehousing and logistics vacancies to connect with our team, and we hope jobseekers across the West Midlands will sign up for support.” 

If you are an employer with vacancies in warehousing or logistics, or if you need help finding a job in the sector, you can sign up for FareShare’s employability programmes here: https://www.faresharemidlands.org.uk/employability-programme/birmingham/.

By supporting FareShare with a regular gift, you will enable them to continue delivering surplus food to charities and community groups across the Midlandshttps://faresharemidlands.org.uk/donate/.

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