Evesham food producers 'struggling' to recruit enough local staff to fill vacancies - report finds - The Evesham Observer

Evesham food producers 'struggling' to recruit enough local staff to fill vacancies - report finds

Evesham Editorial 19th Oct, 2017 Updated: 19th Oct, 2017   0

MAJOR food producers in Evesham are ‘struggling’ to recruit enough staff prepared to work in the sector and the problem is ‘getting worse,’ a report has found.

Those were the findings of Wychavon District Council’s annual Inward Investment Manager’s Report which looked into the state of investment in the town over the past year.

It found that the rapidly expanding Vale Park is now the preferred location for new businesses looking to expand their operations or to relocate to.

The out-of-town business park is now home to more than 130 businesses ranging from food producers to engineering firms and technology developers.

Although the park is continuing to attract investment, according to the report a number of food producers, including Walsh Mushrooms and Wellpak, are struggling to recruit enough local staff.

Firms are in particular finding it difficult to recruit enough qualified HGV and C class drivers resulting in a heavy reliance on recruiting staff from the EU.

The report’s findings were revealed at Evesham Town Council’s Town Plan Committee on Monday where councillors discussed what more can be done to make sure residents have the skills they need.

Speaking at the meeting, Wychavon’s Regeneration Manager Chris Brooks said the issue with a lack of people prepared to work at these firms has been a problem for as long as he can remember.

“It’s been something I’ve been struggling with for years,” he said.

“As Sean has said, particularly around Vale Park, employers do just struggle enormously and have done for years.

“There’s a lack of qualified HGV drivers, but there’s also a lack of people prepared to do work at places like Walsh Mushrooms, Wellpak and many other firms.

“They just struggle to employ anybody and that seems to be getting worse.

“All of these places would be happy to hear from anyone who wants to work because it has been a perennial issue for as long as I can remember.”

The former Mayor of Evesham, Coun Fred Kaler, also called on firms to help train new recruits in a bid to attract people to apply for jobs.

“It would also be good if they could set-up some sort of training, particularly for people who can drive but don’t have an HGV license,” he said.

Mr Brooks responded by saying any ideas for schemes to help more people into work would be welcomed.

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