New jobs vow at food centre

Professor Val Braybrooks (front left) and Mark Tinsley (back second left) at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach,  with (back) Mike Dudbridge, Lincolnshire County Council executive member Mark Tinsley, Richard Turner, (front) East Midlands) Emma McClarkin MEP, Coun Jo Churchill ANL-150201-130020001
Professor Val Braybrooks (front left) and Mark Tinsley (back second left) at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach, with (back) Mike Dudbridge, Lincolnshire County Council executive member Mark Tinsley, Richard Turner, (front) East Midlands) Emma McClarkin MEP, Coun Jo Churchill ANL-150201-130020001

Holbeach is set for about 700 new jobs as part of plans to make the UK’s £100 billion food industry “an economic powerhouse”.

A new food hub is being built alongside the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) in Park Road, part of a £4.8 million scheme to boost economic growth in Holbeach.

Defra has revealed that about 1,250 new jobs are to be created in Holbeach and at two other sites in Lincolnshire, three of 17 Government-backed Food Enterprise Zones (FEZ) across the UK creating more than 10,000 new jobs.

Professor Val Braybrooks MBE, dean of NCFM, said: “Plans are progressing well for the new food hub and, in parallel with that, there are lots of new activities and exciting projects happening.

“As a specialist provider of high-level skills for the food industry, we have been working with Cogent Skills (a UK body promoting skills in the science industries) to develop a high-level apprenticeship in food manufacturing.

“We are launching it in September and some of the major food businesses are sponsoring the students.”

Holbeach was named as a food hub in February after a successful bid by Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a group of businesses, local authorities and public bodies trying to stimulate economic development across the county.

Mark Tinsley, of Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “Our strategy is to double the value of our food and farming industry in Lincolnshire by 2030.

“But to achieve that, we need to help our existing businesses in the food sector and also encourage new businesses.

“The FEZs are strategically located to allow that expansion, including Holbeach where it will be situated alongside the University of Lincoln’s NCFM and in the middle of the nationally-important fresh produce and flower area.”

Holbeach county councillor Nick Worth said: “The FEZ for Holbeach is great news for its future growth as a centre of national and international importance for food.

“It will also bring in higher skilled job opportunities for our young people, Government investment and increasingly innovative and entrepreneurial food-related producers.

“This will, in turn, have an impact on the future prosperity of the town and its surrounding villages as a result.”

Announcing the new jobs on Monday, Environment Secretary Liz Truss said: ““Our food and farming industry is an economic powerhouse, now worth over £100 billion a year and employing one in eight people.”