New grants offered for wholesaler training

A grant of up to £2,500 is being made available through the FWD to food and drink wholesalers to help build skills and encourage learning and development within their teams.

Funding for the training is being given through the Fellowship for Management in Food Distribution, which supports education and training in the food industry. The new bursary is available to any member company of the FWD and Spar UK regional distributors, for training programmes for individuals to support their professional development. The grants are made available to FWD members and Spar wholesalers committed to match-fund the proposed training.

James Bielby, chief executive of the FWD and a trustee of the Trust, said: “The Fellowship Trust was set up in 1964 to encourage young people to enter the industry, train them for the future, and nurture, reward and retain the brightest talents. These grants will meet these goals and help wholesale distributors make the most out of their most valuable assets.

“Our research shows that of the 70,000 people employed by FWD wholesalers, more than nine per cent are on apprenticeships or have other vocational or work related qualifications. We are delighted to be supporting our members’ ongoing learning and development plans through the fund.”

Applicants will be requested to explain how the proposed training will be of value in their role within their organisation, and to outline how it will benefit their career and personal development. Employers must set out how the proposed training meets the aims and objectives of the company’s learning and development strategy.

Applications will be considered for approval by the Fellowship trustees. Application forms can be obtained from FWD at

The Fellowship for Management in Food Distribution was set up in 1964 with a donation from Charles Green, chairman of former Spar wholesaler Wright & Green. The donation was matched by voluntary groups and The Grocer magazine.

The trustees of the Fellowship are: James Bielby; Philip Marchant, company secretary, Spar UK; Andrew Kitching, Group HR director, Booker; and Ian Diment, Group HR director, AF Blakemore & Son.

Any member of the FWD, individual member of a buying group within FWD, or Spar UK wholesaler can apply for a grant. Grants awarded by the Trust are payable on the basis of match funding from the employees organisation or the individual. A maximum of £2,500 of match funding will be available for each grant application in respect of training which supports professional development. A maximum of five grants can be made in any financial year from May 1 to April 30 to any single organisation.

[Pictured above: Booker apprentices from the FWD’s apprenticeship awards at the Houses of Parliament, held in November]







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