Herriot Watt Apprenticeships: Cultivate Your Talent Development

Scotland’s food and drink sector is a major contributor to the economy – both in terms of employment and GDP.  However, amidst its success, the sector faces critical challenges in recruitment, workforce development, and skills retention. Read on to find out how our tailored Graduate Apprenticeships can help you cultivate your talent development…

The sector has ambitious plans for growth and estimates suggest that 35,000 new recruits will be needed by 2031 to meet the skills needs of the sector. The sector faces a variety of skills challenges, including in STEM-related areas such as food science/technology and engineering. In addition, the sector faces stiff competition from other industries which can make staff retention a problem. We’re also seeing how digitalisation and automation are changing the type of skills needed by Scotland’s food and drink industry.

While companies may need to look at upskilling or reskilling existing employees to fill critical skills gaps, with the so many new recruits needed over the coming years, it is imperative that employers also try to attract new talent. This creates a talent pipeline for the future, and can introduce new ideas and fresh thinking into the company.
Some specific skillsets needed by the sector include

  • Supply chain logistics
  • Engineering
  • Data analysis and digital literacy
  • Food science and technology
  • Meta skills – problem solving, critical thinking, communication etc

Graduate Apprenticeships | Grow your talent pipeline

Our Graduate Apprenticeships are fully funded and have been designed to create degree qualified employees with key skills tailored to the needs of business. The unique combination of academic and work-based learning is proving to be a recipe for success for more and more food and drink employers around the country.

  • GAs are a great way to demonstrate your commitment to workforce development, which can help to improve staff retention.
  • By investing in your workforce with GAs you can help to establish a reputation for longer term career development. This can position you as an employer of choice and help to attract new talent (in a competitive market).
  • Using Graduate Apprenticeships to upskill or reskill existing employees is an ideal way to fill critical and specific skills gaps.
  • Graduate Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to generate ‘work-ready employees’. As well as technical skills, the work-based learning approach means that students also develop crucial meta skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication.

Our solutions for Scotland’s food and drink industry

Heriot-Watt’s menu of GA programmes can cater for the needs of the food and drink sector – manufacturing, processing and distribution – from understanding data to innovating technology to engineering for the manufacturing process.

  • Engineering skills are essential in food and drink manufacturing and production.
  • We are one of Scotland’s and the UK’s leading universities for Engineering. Our Engineering Design & Manufacture programme has two pathways – Mechanical and Electronic – both of which can build skills to meet the needs of the sector.
Business Management
  • Business skills and Project management skills are essential in any successful business. Our Business Management programme helps to create the core skills needed for this.
  • Our Business Management programme can also help food and drink firms create the managers and leaders of tomorrow and is accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.
Software Development
  • As digitalisation grows so too does the need for skills in software development to help with innovation etc. Our Software Development for Business GA programme can help companies to drive innovation and automation.
  • The programme will develop graduates with the capability to code, build software programs and web-based applications using key technologies, languages and tools.
Data Science
  • Data skills are a key area for the sector – and an area that employers struggle to recruit for.
  • Our Data Science Graduate Apprenticeship is an ideal way to upskill or reskill existing employees to develop these skills.
  • Our Data Science programme helps to build skills in data analytics (including AI and machine learning) to help businesses generate better insight and better decision making and forecasting.


Food for Thought? Fill out the form on the link below. 

Cultivate your Talent Development (


Related Posts