1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Food Operations Apprentice, which is a 2 year apprenticeship with four 6 monthly placements in different departments around the factory. At the moment I am based in Wafer, after this I will go on to material handling, Aero and finally KitKat. In wafer I have learnt in a short period of time how to confidently and competently start up, shut down and run a wafer oven and production line. My day to day role is to keep watch over the production line ensuring the quality levels are met and to produce wafer books, I have checks to do on the production line that help identify if there is a problem and I adjust the oven or certain parts of the machinery if our targets or checks aren’t within specification. I attend daily meetings to communicate how the lines are running and to get any information of the managers about changeovers, issues etc. I also fill in my portfolio which we are given to complete with coursework and evidence of things I have learnt.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
For starters I have learnt how to operate a large production line confidently and competently that only a few short months ago I had no idea how to run and it was completely impossible for me to do so. I have learnt about Nestle wafer from the batter plant where it comes together as a batter, to the ovens where it is cooked and the production line where the praline is added and the wafer sheets stacked together to make wafer books and right through to how it is cut and ready to become KitKats or Drifter chocolate bars. I have learnt how to keep safe whilst working for Nestle and about all the safety measures in place that are there for our wellbeing. And I have developed team building and team working skills that enhance my working experience. I attend various Nestle training programmes and I also gain a Level 3 NVQ in Food industry skills.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I am extremely enjoying being part of the Nestle Apprenticeship programme, I talk about it to my friends and I promote it and recommend it to almost everyone I get talking to. Sometimes the day can be slow sometimes the day wizzes by, being in the same team for 6 months you build great working relationships with the others and you feel like part of the team which makes the slow days more enjoyable.
4. How valued do you feel by Nestle?
Working for such a large company I didn't think I would feel very valued, but I was wrong. Everyone is friendly and I feel Nestle really look after their staff. I feel like an important part of the team and was very welcomed by the team and manager. There are great job prospects and opportunities and every chance to take them. Great pay and the shift patterns make it even better, they make you feel like you still have a life and time for your hobbies, friends and family which I feel is very important. Even the Factory manager shakes the hands of everyone he comes across within the factory which makes you feel like you are a valued and important employee.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure of the Food operations apprentice is great, you are told in advance what departments you will be working in and they give a shift pattern for the whole 6 months you are in each department. You have arranged days for observations and training and the team behind the apprenticeship are in touch regularly to keep you up to date with any dates of training etc. that you need to attend.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training providers are very helpful and you are given their contact details so I can always just drop them a call, email or even a text should I need their help or support. These are the same person that comes into the factory to asses you, which helps build confidence and makes it less nerving when you are due to have an assessment. They are friendly and full of support and advice.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive as much support as I need, and if I ever need to ask any questions or have something I am unsure about the team behind the apprenticeship are very friendly and approachable and encourage you to come to them should you need any help or support. In fact every employee within the factory is very helpful and will do their best to help you should you ask.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
As apprenticeships go I am very happy with my salary! I have two young children one of which goes to nursery which is expensive but with my salary I have no money issues at all and can more than afford to treat myself and my family regularly to little extras. I was very surprised you could be paid so much whilst doing an apprenticeship as I know most places pay very little. And the best part is the salary goes up each year and once you have compleated the apprenticeship!
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
It feels as though there is always something going on outside of work, charity events and charity bake sale and charity balls etc. As an apprentice you get to go to Rashlieghs which is a Nestle building in amazing grounds, where you stay over, receive training with other Nestle apprentices from around the UK which was great. I also have lots of time for my own hobbies, gym, short breaks away, going to the football….. And as you have a set shift you can plan these things in advance, which is great for social circles like mine.
9. Would you recommend Nestle to a friend?
Because I genuinely enjoy my job and the road I have ahead of me, I enjoy the pay and the opportunities the apprenticeship will open up for me and I feel that Nestle really are a great company to work for.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Nestle?
The application can feel frustrating at times and a bit long, but stick with it and answer the questions honestly. It is so worth it when you get onto the programme and it is something you will be so proud of achieving, so give yourself the best chance you can. Get familiar with your maths and English as it is a part of the requirements and there are tests. It’s normal to feel nervous about the interview but there really is no need to be, I had a great time on the interview and I met some lovely people. If you’re thinking about applying to Nestle I really would recommend it, I was going to go to University but after seeing a poster for the apprenticeship and speaking to people whom I know work for Nestle and did the apprenticeship many years ago when they first began, I weighed up the pros and cons and obviously went with Nestle and it was defiantly the right choice for me.
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