1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I ‘am a manufacturing apprentice. The overview of the role involves firstly clocking in and changing into work wear. Next I proceed to entering the department I ‘am currently working within (at the time of writing this review I ‘am currently working within Toffee Crisp department). Once I have wash my hands before entry (to maintain hygiene) I then visit the technician in charge of the shift to see what he has planned for me to complete today. Some examples of tasks I have been assigned include creating batches of Choc Wash (which is the base ingredient for Toffee Crisp), taking measurements of the bars to see if they are in spec, assisting in stock checks and also lending a hand with tanker delivers, or even completing safety walk sheets. If the technician has nothing planned for me to do I would then begin to fill out my college work booklet which contains questions relating to the department for me to discover the answer whilst on shift and fill it in within the booklet, to help aid my understanding of the department processes. In between my shifts I would attend a DOR (Daily Operational Review) in which I would listen and be briefed with what has happened within the department over the last 24 hours (i.e. has there been any injuries or machine faults which have occurred, what is the current cash flow performance of the department, or there any loses?). I can take actions from this meeting to complete during the day and report back the next day, actions such as problem solving and/or updating machine loss figures online (if incorrect or not updated). I would regularly be interacting with other workers to learn more about the job, how to machines and manufacturing process work, and how safety is maintained, which all aids towards my development from an apprentice to a developed operator (my targeted 3 year goal). In summary, my daily responsibilities involve assisting with workers, completing designated tasks, completing my work booklet, and completing safety walk sheets and attending DOR's.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learned many valuable skills which will assist me in later life, such as my role teaching me the skills of a plant operator, i.e. the tasks involved, how to tackle the tasks, addressing the responsibilities appropriately etc. I have also learnt new skills internally from the training courses that are provided by the factory as these skills help to aid my understanding of certain factory principles (i.e. principles relating to safety, quality and environmental practise) and department processes, which allows me to perform better as I will be more educated and I can transition the skills learnt into the role to achieve tasks better and perform better overall in the long run. Being involved with manufacturing has allowed me to see and understand a whole new sector that I was not familar with before hand and this has allowed me to grasp how working life evolves, knowing the responsibilties of being on time to work and preforming my allocated tasks to a high standard (and understand the negative repurcussions of not doing so).
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme. I enjoy it because not only do I have the satisfaction of saying that I currently work for one of the largest and most successful businesses in the world (certainly one of the largest food manufacturing companies in the world) and that my work contributes towards the manufacture and sale of some of the most recognisable food products in the nation (i.e. Toffee Crisp, Rolo). In addition I also met some new friends in the form of my apprentice colleagues will make the apprenticeship journey more enjoyable. I also enjoy the company culture as it is rewarding (i.e. generous pay, outstanding pension and employee discount scheme) and the culture is very competitive in that the jobs allocated to me come in numbers and is varied so I am always engaged with something and something different from time to time, which challeneges me to preform well.
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4. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme is well structured well enough. Our line manager has completed and provided us with a yearly calendar which includes monthly blocks where we are assigned into different departments within the factory in order to gain exposure and learn new information regarding the processes and safety and responsibility challenges that an operator faces. The calendar also features the college block releases and also the time allocated for personal projects and employee training. All of this is structured well enough however upon 3 months into the apprenticeship, I have come across clashes in the schedule which makes my day to day actions confusing and also makes it difficult to stay up to date with tasks if I cannot have time to spend on completing the task if I am tied up with another event. In terms of the training, I would say that the support is excellent as the employees on the factory floor are very supportive and friendly to approach to ask for assistance. They provide excellent answers that include great detail that helps to fill the gaps in the question booklet and provide me with more knowledge that makes my learning easier. In addition there are great resources available at our disposal to use to help aid us with our learning. For example within the departments there are SOP (Standard Operational Practises) booklet which outlines the processes of the machinery within the department clearly which helps make the understanding easier. There are also computers available for us to use if we need to search the web for additional information and there are also archives for the factory in which we can search through to locate certain pieces or information if needed.
5. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I receive excellent support from our manager, who regularly visits us to check in with our progress and this also allows us to outline any issues we are currently suffering from, allowing the manager to help resolve the issue quicker than monthly reviews or via email or phone contact. The manager also provides great information and tuition if we are stuck on a certain question or do not how to complete a certain task. The HR team of the factory are also very supportive, providing assistance with regards to any HR related issues I'am currently suffering from, such as login difficulty or any holiday queries. The accessibility of support is easy and quick, with an email response generally received in a short period or a face to face conversation agreed in a short matter of time. Many responses are quickly received and contain a great amount of useful information. The general attitude towards us is very positive with many more than willing to lend their knowledge and assistance when needed as they understand that since we are apprentices we are not as well informed or knowledgeable as themselves so they are happy to help, especially from our manager who will provided us with great assistance and information as he wants us to forward our learning and progression as an apprentice smoother and quicker.
6. How much support do you receive from your training provider when working towards your qualifications?
I receive sufficient support from our training provider. They currently visit the factory once a month to record our learning progress and see how much we have progressed since there last visit. We also have block releases within our calendar that allows us to visit college and receive further knowledge and assistance with regards to our training. The whole experience makes our life as apprentices easier as we are being provided with information that makes our day to day tasks and responsibilities easier to achieve. However my only negative with regards to our training provider is that they are located in Huddersfield, which is over 120 miles away from our factory, which makes learning not regular and the tasks are briefed not consistently meaning there will be periods where we have no work assigned to us. In addition since they are too far away, if we have any issues we can only get in touch via phone or email, which is inconvenient as sometimes a response may be delayed and we won’t receive a response for some time, causing delays and harming our learning slightly.
7. How well do you feel that your qualification (through your training provider) helps you to perform better in your role?
I believe that the qualification has allowed me to be exposed to various different types of information (covering different aspects not just relating to the business but also information relating to food production and business performance) and the information taught has come across in different means, from lectures to booklets to even skype calls. This means that I have been able to hear, understand and grasp new information which has allowed me to become more knowledgable and confident when approaching my job and activities. My qualification covers 16 units, all of which relate to the business but in different ways (i.e. one unit teaches me about the impact of food safety on production and customers, and the information I learnt from this unit allows me to become more cautious and prompts me to follow the right food safety protocols to ensure when I'm manufacturing products, that I observe the right quality practises (correctly).
8. Are there extra-curricular activities to get involved in at your work? (For example, any social activities, sports teams, or even professional networking events.)
Yes, there are many company events that take place such as factory open days, in which employees can invite their members of family to come and experience the factory, which is nice as they can gain an insight into what our job involves and also witness the makings of some of the companies most recognisable products such as Rolo and Toffee Crisp. The factory also hold charity events in which they open stalls internally and externally of the factory in order to help raise awareness and funds for the charity the factory currently sponsor. In addition, Nestle offers the opportuntity for employees to have 2 days out of work in order to carry out charity related events (subject to approval from manager). I have been involved with company activities such as job fair events within local schools to help raise the profile of the apprenticeships that the company and local Nestle factory currently offers to young school students and levers. For example I recently visited a local high school and pitched details of the apprenticeship to hundreds of year 11 students, outlining what the apprenticeship involves and what rewards they can gain from undertaking the course. There is also the opportunity to visit other Nestle production sites across the U.K, allowing you to build rapport with other work collegues externally and also learn new production processes for different products.
9a. Would you recommend Nestle to a friend?
Nestle is a huge multi-national company with a presence in numerous different countries world-wide. There are factories in different countries and their products are brought and consumed by customers worldwide. I gain the satisfaction of knowing that I ‘am part of this huge and historic company and that some of the products that I lend a hand in making is sold and consumed not just nationally but worldwide. There is so many opportunities to progress through the company and into different roles, each bringing different tasks and responsibilities which allows me to have a career that is always full of different responsibilities and opportunities. I could even travel abroad to work in different factories, which satisfies my travelling ambition. Nestle provides great assistance with queries and always supports the development of employees (i.e. provide training to learn new knowledge and/or offer oppruntities to spend time in different departments/functions to build competence and knowledge in new sectors, developing the indiviual). It also awards its employees with a generous wage and pension package and include additional benefits such as an employee discount scheme which makes my living less stressful and more enjoyable.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Nestle?
I would suggest researching the company beforehand, making sure you note down the history of the company, key events which have occurred across the years since its formation and also take note of key people and figures attached with the company as all this information will come in handy when answering questions in the application process and also in the interview involving the applicants understanding of the business. I would also suggest that the applicant is well rehearsed for the telephone or video interview as some of the questions that are asked are tricky and difficult to answer right away so much time, preparation and taught much be spent to successfully answer the questions. I would suggest researching more about the role applied for, understand what are the key skills needed for the role and try to link your current skill set with what the skills are required for the job, mentioning some appropriate examples demonstrating your use of these skills effectively as this will outline to the employer that you possess the key skills needed for the role. I would also advise applicants to brush up on their maths skills (i.e. division and multiplication) as some of the maths questions are tricky to answer instantly and require working out (for me personally) and since there is a time limit, certain applicants can panic and rush through the test, which can affect their answers negatively and jeopardise their chances of succeeding.
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