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Start Date:9th September, 2021

Start Time:3PM BST (London)

Duration:60 minutes


Food and drink factory managers have faced a growing skills shortage for years, with an ageing workforce and tight supply of younger skilled workers. Now the situation is at crisis levels. Over-reliance on migrant workers has been hit by immigration policy limiting the pool of EU recruits who can get UK visas. Staff have had to stay at home and self-isolate during the pandemic, including some essential to continued plant operations. Political action might offer long-term relief. Increased use of robotics is one answer, but many processors have already installed obvious equipment or struggle with budgets to invest. Complex robotic solutions also demand further skills and take time to integrate, test and bed in. Operations managers must still meet increasing customer demand daily, so what can they do immediately to practically address the challenge and deliver targets? Our experts will offer advice.

Sponsored by:



Andrew Brodie

People & Communications Director

Avara foods

Andrew Brodie is People and Communications Director at Avara Foods, one of the leading UK suppliers of poultry to the major retailers and food service chains, employing over 7000 people across the UK in an end to end operation from farm to the supermarket shelf.

Andrew has held this position since Avara came together as a join venture between Faccenda and Cargill in 2018 having previously held the position at Faccenda following spells with, Cargill Unilever and Danone. As well as his HR qualifications Andrew has a first degree in history and a MSC in strategy from Cranfield.

Jack Payne

Solution Consulting Director, Food and Beverage and Process Manufacturing


Jack Payne has spent over 30 years in the food manufacturing industry, helping companies tackle their biggest industry challenges. His experience has led him to become a well-respected industry resource for best practices and technology innovation.

Carl Schubert

Group Manufacturing Excellence and Engineering Director


Working for Greencore for almost five years, Carl joined the company as head of business improvement and boasts a total of more than 20 years’ experience in engineering, maintenance and continuous improvement roles for companies including Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, and Coca-Cola in Europe. He will partner with Phil to offer considerable insights on total productive maintenance, preventative maintenance, increasing efficiency, manufacturing excellence and continuous improvement

Phil Barnfather

HR Director – Operations


Phil will partner with a colleague in operations to address how to blend management techniques with operational excellence. He has worked in grocery retail and manufacturing for eight years, first for supermarket chain Morrisons, then for Greencore. With a background in people management, he has lived and breathed the challenges of talent acquisition and skills development and retention in the food industry.

Rod Addy



Rod is the editor of Food Manufacture and is responsible for all content on its website, face-to-face conferences and its annual Food Manufacture Excellence Awards.
He has worked for William Reed for 20 years as a journalist, starting off at The Grocer, where he was one of two journalists launching its website.
He has reported on everything from the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak of the early noughties and the launch of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice to the horsemeat scandal, Brexit and COVID-19.

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