#CrisisCareersHeroes: Keeping us fed

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Graphic depicting food-related jobs

This week, we are celebrating the amazing #CrisisCareersHeroes who are helping us all get through the coronavirus outbreak. At Success at School, we want to thank all of these amazing people from the bottom of our hearts and help you learn more about the things they do in their jobs.

Today we’re focusing on the workers who are keeping us fedCheck out our main page to see more articles.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Supermarket staff

Graphic depicting supermarket workers

What do they do?

Supermarket assistants keep shelves well stocked, help customers with enquiries and serve customers on the checkout as well as supervising the self-checkout. Store managers are responsible for recruitment, coordinating the staff rota and ensuring stock is maintained. Most stores have supervisors who take responsibility during certain shifts.

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Supermarket staff are at the frontline of the outbreak, with stores seeing demand rise during the epidemic. To keep staff and customers safe, supermarkets are limiting the number of customers allowed in store at a time and introducing social distancing measures inside. At many supermarket chains, staff are being offered gloves and face masks where possible. Some stores have installed plastic screens to separate checkout staff and customers.

Job stats

  • Pay: Supermarket assistant: £13,000 / Store manager: £39,000.
  • Average working week: Supermarket assistant: 38-40 hours / Store manager: 40-42 hours.
  • Types of shift: Supermarket assistant: Daytime, evening, weekend / Store manager: Daytime, evening, weekend.
  • Demand: Supermarket assistant: Jobs are expected to drop over the coming years / Store manager: Jobs are expected to rise over the coming years.

How can I become a supermarket worker?

No qualifications or experience are required to become a supermarket assistant, although employers may look more favourably on those with professional qualifications or experience. To become a store manager, you will generally need to complete a university degree and then join a management training programme. Alternatively, you could enrol on a higher or degree apprenticeship. Managers at smaller stores sometimes rise through the ranks to their position by gaining experience and qualifications on the job.

Farm workers

Graphic depicting farm workers

What do they do?

Farm workers or farm labourers generally undertake a wide range of duties depending on their specialism. This may include vegetable and fruit picking, looking after livestock, maintaining farm buildings or machinery and ploughing fields and planting crops.

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Farm workers are essential during this outbreak as farms continue to operate, ensuring we produce food and keep supermarkets well-stocked. However, farm workers often live and work together in relatively confined conditions which makes social distancing difficult and increases the risk of infection. The National Farmers’ Union advises that farmers do all they can to enable those who have to work to observe social distancing – from spreading out operations across different farm to face-washing after sharing an enclosed space such as the cab of a farm vehicle. However, in practice, it may not always be possible to take such measures.

Job stats

  • Pay: £22,000.
  • Average working week: 46-48 hours.
  • Types of shift: Daytime, evening, weekend.
  • Demand: Job demand is expected to drop a bit over the next few years.

How can I become a supermarket and shop worker?

As no particular qualifications are required to become a farm worker, you can apply directly. You may want to take a college course beforehand. You could also take an apprenticeship and gain qualifications. If you want to be a vehicle operative, you will need to gain the relevant licence to do so.

Food delivery drivers

Graphic depicting food delivery drivers

What do they do?

Food delivery drivers – or drivers and riders as they’re better known – pick up food orders from the outlet they were ordered from and take them to the customer. They operate through services such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat.

How has their role been affected by coronavirus?

Although restaurants are no longer open for diners, takeaway services are still allowed to operate, which is a lifeline for those who aren’t able to cook for themselves. This means food riders and drivers are essential part of the crew getting food to customers. While there is plenty of work for riders and drivers, there are some risks as well. As riders and drivers are considered to be self-employed or else hired on zero-hours contracts, they can sometimes fall foul of the shaky employment rights for such workers. As a result, some workers who have taken time off because of suspected infection have not been paid from their employer’s coronavirus hardship fund.

Job stats

  • Pay: Around £10 per hour.
  • Average working week: Dependent on rider/driver choice.
  • Types of shift: Any time.
  • Demand: Rising as delivery companies expand.

How can I become a food delivery driver?

You need access to a car or bike to do this job. Anyone can apply to work for a delivery company and no further qualifications are required. You will need a smartphone and the capacity to download the company’s app.

If there are any jobs we have missed, please tweet @successatschool on the hashtag #CrisisCareersHeroes and we’ll aim to do a shout out.

Check out our main #CrisisCareersHeroes page to learn about other workers who are helping us get through the coronavirus crisis.

Images: Graphics by Macrovector and Freepik via Freepik

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