Food giants sing the praises of apprenticeships

Successful apprentice Will Gray hard at work at Premier Foods's factory in Worksop. (PHOTO BY: Professional Images (UK) Ltd
Successful apprentice Will Gray hard at work at Premier Foods's factory in Worksop. (PHOTO BY: Professional Images (UK) Ltd

The value of apprenticeships has been underlined by an acclaimed Worksop company with a new recruitment drive.

Premier Foods, the maker of iconic household brands such as Bisto, Oxo, Batchelors and Mr Kipling, is rated by apprentices on a review website as one of the top 50 employers in the country.

Antonia Oakley, who has progressed from an apprenticeship to the production line at Premier Foods's Worksop factory. (PHOTO BY: Professional Images (UK) Ltd).

Antonia Oakley, who has progressed from an apprenticeship to the production line at Premier Foods's Worksop factory. (PHOTO BY: Professional Images (UK) Ltd).

And it is marking National Apptrenticeship Week this week by launching a plan to take on new advanced food operators, all of whom will receive valuable on-the-job training.

Julie Harris, the company’s apprenticeship and graduate manager, said: “We have fantastic feedback regularly from our apprentices, highlighting the value of our programmes as an alternative route into the world of work.

“It is essential that we attract talent and raise awareness of our brands and the diverse job opprtunities in the food industry. One way we can do that is through our apprenticeship programmes.

“Whether it be engineering, food technology, manufacturing, IT or marketing that people are interested in, we have a range of opportunities available and run a successful scheme for graduates as well.”

Premier Foods was rated 43rd best employer on the RateMy Apprenticeship website, and as high as fourth in the fast-moving consumer goods and retail category.

This follows the success of apprentices at its Worksop factory, where they completed their training alongside studies at West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield.

One of them, Will Gray, is now a shift technician at the factory, responsible for essential maintenance in its respective departments.

He said: “I firmly believe apprenticeships are one of the best routes to take after school.

“I read about the opportunity with Premier Foods in the ‘Worksop Guardian’ newspaper and thought it was a brilliant chance to learn while earning money with a reputable company.

“For anyone looking to embark on an apprenticeship, I would say you have to be willing to listen and not be afraid to make mistakes.

“Not only have I learned a great deal about engineering, the progamme has also helped me develop as a person.”

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual celebration of the positive impact that apprenticeships have on learners, employers and the economy.

It is marked up and down the country by open days, award ceremonies and employer networking events.

ANTONIA Oakley is further living proof of the success of apprenticeship programmes at Premier Foods.

She decided to take one as a technical operator and has now progressed to a good job on the Oxo line at the firm’s Worksop factory.

She said: “I thought it was a great way for me to get a qualification while working for a well-known food manufacturer. The scheme was really good, with training and advice always available.

“If I needed help on a shift, my colleagues were there to support me and I had a mentor for any queries around my coursework. As a result, I have gained many skills.

“I was surprised by how much I enjoyed learning all about the factory machinery and how to maintain it. I even had the opportunity to attend a forklift truck course, so every day, I was learning something new.

“Apprenticeships are a great chance to learn while working.”