Following in MamGu Welshcakes’ footsteps as they gear up for a move, local food and drink companies are invited to a series of free workshops next month, helping them tackle climate change.

Managed by Food & Drink Skills Wales, a programme funded by Welsh Government and committed to working with the food and drink industry to develop a skilled and capable workforce; the free, tutor-led online training courses and workshops will help eligible businesses take action on their sustainability and decarbonisation goals. Businesses can also book a free one-to-one session with the tutor after completing the training.

One of the companies that attended this year’s sustainability course is MamGu Welshcakes* based in Pembrokeshire.

Laura Barthorpe of MamGu Welshcakes
Laura Barthorpe of MamGu Welshcakes (Pic supplied by Food & Drink Wales)

Speaking of her experience of the course, Laura Barthorpe of MamGu Welshcakes said: “As a small business, we are continuously looking at ways to improve and grow our business so that it can be more sustainable, therefore, this training really appealed to us.

“The workshops were very informative. The fact that they were delivered online allowed us to plan our time effectively, and yet with this format, we still felt part of a wider group. It was a great opportunity to meet other businesses like ours and share experiences.

 “We gained so much from the course, including an additional one-to-one session where an Environmental Action Plan was created for us, which now plays a key part of our wider business plan.” 

Production at MamGu Welshcakes
Production at MamGu Welshcakes (Pic supplied by Food & Drink Wales)

Designed and led by Wales’ leading sustainability and industry trainers, EcoStudio and Cynnal Cymru, the sustainability training course will equip attendees with the knowledge and skills required to implement changes within their business in terms of sustainability.

The decarbonisation workshops, delivered by GEP Environmental, will raise awareness of the importance of moving toward net zero for the sector.

Over 50 food and drink companies have successfully completed the sustainability training course so far, and, like the decarbonisation workshops, due to high demand, a further cohort of courses and workshops are scheduled for the New Year.

Businesses can benefit from the courses in a multitude of ways including sharing best practice with colleagues and implementing changes to their business strategies, technology and process design in all day-to-day working practices.

Food & Drink Skills Wales Project Manager, Nerys Davies, said: “The Sustainability training course is designed to help Welsh food and drink companies put sustainability into practice. Whether your business is large or small, whether you’re new to sustainability or you have already started making changes to your business. It’s great to hear the positive feedback from companies and see how attending the course has helped their business implement sustainability interventions.”

While the sustainability training programme is delivered as a series of five tutor-led modules, the decarbonisation workshops give attendees the option to attend as many or as few of the workshops as required.

 Covering five specific topics, the workshops are a must for businesses looking to move toward net zero. Topics include energy efficiency and management; renewables; decarbonisation of heating, cooling and refrigeration systems; and decarbonisation of food waste and packaging.

Looking forward to next year’s decarbonisation workshops, Peter Schofield, Director and Principal Environmental Consultant of GEP Environmental said: “We are looking forward to welcoming more food and drink manufacturing businesses to our online workshops in the New Year. It’s encouraging to see so many businesses within the food and drink sector embrace decarbonisation and all the opportunities that come with it, such as energy reduction, cost savings and carbon emissions reduction, in the journey to Net Zero Carbon.

“At GEP, we’re aware that the journey to Net Zero is unique for every business, and the workshops offer practical, tangible suggestions tailored to the food and drink sector. The workshops focus on a variety of topics, from very tangible reductions in food waste and packaging to identifying the aspects of a business that are less visible, but just as important, when it comes to energy, cost and carbon savings – including energy efficiency, heating, cooling and refrigeration systems.

“We will help businesses, through the workshops and one-to-one meetings, to identify opportunities within their own organisation and equip them with the m with the right skills to make decisions so they can apply changes to their business strategies accordingly.”

To book a place/s on the free courses, contact: [email protected]

* Footnote: After six years in the Pembrokeshire village, Mamgu Welshcakes have announced that they are closing their Solva coffee shop at the Grade II listed Old Printing House on December 31, in readiness for a move to nearby St Davids. They are taking on the lease of St Davids Cathedral Refectory and plan to open in the spring, and invite people to take the opportunity to visit them in Solva during their last couple of weeks in the village.