A dairy company based in Ilchester has been hit by the labour shortage caused by Brexit.

Norseland, a supplier of speciality and blended cheeses whose award-winning brands include Jarlsberg, Mexicana, Ilchester and Applewood, are just one of the many companies who are facing a labour shortage at their factory in Ilchester after many of their workers, who were from European Union countries, decided to return home after the UK left the EU on January 1, 2020.

Clive Richer, corporate social responsibility manager and HR director at Norseland, said: "Brexit has hit the food and drink manufacturing industry hard in Somerset and we are really feeling it at the moment.

"So many of our staff returned to their home countries when Brexit happened, and we have faced a struggle to recruit replacements because of the general exodus of EU workers across the county and the UK as a whole.

"It is thought that as many as 1.3 million workers have left the UK since late 2019.

"Obviously, Covid is a factor too but Brexit has been the driving force behind the jobs' shortage that we and many companies in the food and drink supply chain are experiencing.

READ NEXT: Brexit is 'throttling' farms as European fruit pickers can't work in UK

"The Road Hauliers' Association recently said that the availability of HGV drivers had reached "catastrophic levels" and this will obviously have a knock-on effect for the food and drink industry as a whole.

"There has been a lot said about the shortage of staff for hospitality industry in the news recently, but the struggle is real for food and drink manufacturers such as ourselves too.

"While we are maintaining our manufacturing levels at the moment and getting our products out the supermarkets and wholesales across the UK, the labour shortage in Somerset could pose a major problem if it continues in the future.

"At Norseland, we employ 207 staff and we are a respected employer locally; we offer training, good benefits and a career path for workers keen to pursue a career in the food processing industry.

"We have a number of full-time vacancies on 40-hour-a-week contracts with a variety of shift patterns available, but we also have a number part-time vacancies available including up to 20-hours-a-work 10am-2pm shifts, which is a great opportunity for parents keen to work around their children's school day, with 24-hour and 30-hour a week contracts available too, which have a variety of shift patterns that can work around family life.

"We have fixed-term contracts until the end of September that are perfect for over 18 years old for college or university students looking for summer holiday work."

Anyone interested in working with Norseland at their Ilchester factory should call the recruitment team on 01935 842800, (option 5).