Heck sausage boss wants Afghan refugees and prisoners to solve Brexit worker shortage

A sausage manufacturer hopes to be able to employ prison inmates in order to overcome the labor shortage after Brexit – and wants Afghan refugees to be quickly accepted into the world of work.

Heck founder Andrew Keeble has written to local MP and Chancellor Rishi Sunak, calling for urgent measures to be taken to deal with the personnel crisis in food production.

He calls for a swift pursuit of Afghan refugees who are being processed to fill the void of workers – and has now launched an offer to recruit inmates to train them in food production.

Mr. Keeble said, “We are trying to examine as many ways to employ people – be it locals, school leavers, or teaching skills to serving inmates in food production.

“There is no doubt that many prisoners currently serving their sentences would make great drivers, butchers, bakers and cooks.

“Many other companies like Timpson and Cook are taking a similar approach.”

Based in Bedale, North Yorks, the company is the UK’s largest independent sausage and crackers maker.

But it faces staff shortages in September and said it urgently needs to fill roles in shipping, sales and marketing.

Mr. Keeble, who founded the company, previously raised concerns about the gap in the labor market for the food industry.

And he even fears that the Christmas dinner of pigs in blankets could be threatened as production could be reduced by a third.

He said, “The biggest problem in the food and supply industry is recruitment and retention.

“The British don’t see Essen as a target career, but we have people who work for us right after school, who we trained and who are now in charge of marketing and sales.”

The company has started training its own workers to distribute their sausages and crackers to customers to help combat the crippling shortage of freight forwarders in the industry.

Mr Keeble’s son, Roddy, now fills the gaps and drives through the country.

The Bangers boss said, “We tried our regular carrier, we tried external carriers, but there is no availability.

“It’s going to be so bad, that’s the only way we can make it.

“Everyone has their opinion on why there are bottlenecks, but the truth is that a lot of Eastern Europeans have gone home and don’t want to come back – they don’t feel welcome after Brexit, which is a shame.

“The government needs to act urgently. You need to get a handle on billing code issuance. We know there are people waiting to come to the UK to work.

“Why not the quick processing of refugees, if these people want work, then we have it for them.”

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