Christmas is a time when many employers in the food and drink industry take on temporary staff - and that can be a positive, as a local food manufacturer attests.

Jane Sadler, Head of People at Haverfordwest-based Puffin Produce Ltd, said offering seasonal work opportunities has benefitted the company and employees.

“Being a food manufacturer, there are times when we take on seasonal staff – particularly in the run-up to Christmas, as everyone wants potatoes for their

Christmas dinner. Therefore, we will be looking to take on seasonal staff in the coming weeks.

“We’ve also taken on staff on fixed-term contracts at other times, such as during the daffodil harvest.

“Short-term contracts give people the opportunity to experience the business and for us to get to know them too, and when we have permanent vacancies, they are best placed to be able to apply.”

According to a new Wales-wide skills support programme, such opportunities can have longer-term benefits for all.

Delivered by Menter a Busnes on behalf of the Welsh Government, Food & Drink Skills Wales works with the food and drink industry to develop a skilled and capable workforce to increase productivity and efficiency and to fuel innovation and sustainable growth.

With a focus on food and drink manufacturing and processing, support is offered to ensure employees have the right skills and training for their business and the broader industry in Wales.

Short-term and seasonal job contracts can afford employers and employees essential insights and opportunities regarding longer-term employment needs and valuable experience in a new sector.

Nerys Davies, Food & Drink Skills Wales project manager, said, “Seasonal jobs are a great way for people to learn new skills and get a ‘taster’ of working in a sector they haven’t previously considered.

“While for others, seasonal contracts can act as a ‘bridge’ between jobs, or maybe as a ‘stepping stone’ for those looking to change careers.

“Wales has a vibrant and growing food and drink industry, with wide-ranging job opportunities. Food & Drink Skills Wales supports employers and employees in creating a skilled workforce to progress careers in the food industry in all parts of Wales.

“We are here to help businesses adapt to changes and opportunities in food manufacturing, including technical, business and environmental challenges. There is also a focus on the future of the workplace by engaging with younger people through apprenticeships and training to equip them with the skills required by Wales’ food and drink industry.”