Sophie at Bakkavor

Programmes Offered: Apprenticeship - Advanced Level (Level 3) Apprenticeship - Higher Level (Level 4/5/6/7)
Industry: FMCG & Retail

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Procurement Apprentice

Where and what did you study?

I first studied at sixth form, completing 3 A levels in History and Double Business. I enjoyed the business aspect of my studies, so thought an apprenticeship would be suitable for me as I wanted to get straight into earning. I joined Bakkavor Spalding as a Procurement apprentice and have completed level 3 CIPS. I will be beginning level 4 next month and will move placements.

What work experience did you have before joining Bakkavor?

Before working at Bakkavor, I had little experience working with businesses. I had worked with an Architecture firm for work experience when I was 15 and had 2 years working in retail. However, these were dissimilar to working in a fast-paced food manufacturing business. Even so, I was ale to bring some skills I had learned to the job.

What attracted you to Bakkavor? Were you aware of the business before?

I heard about Bakkavor from a friend of my mum’s. I was looking for an apprenticeship and she mentioned that Bakkavor were offering some. She had worked here previously and said it was a very friendly business with lots of opportunity. I wasn’t aware of Bakkavor before but now I am very proud to be a part of it.

Can you talk us through what you did or are doing on the apprentice programme?

On the apprenticeship scheme I am on, I am funded to learn from level 3 to level 6 CIPS courses, which is equivalent to a degree. I have recently completed level 3 with a Distinction and will shortly be beginning level 4. I have spent 18 months at Spalding Salads and will move to Central Procurement in April which will give me more opportunities to learn a new style of working. No two days are the same, there’s always something to get your teeth into.

What were the highlights?

The highlights for me have been working with a team of friendly and accepting people, and earning a decent wage while completing a degree level qualification. I didn’t think this kind of opportunity was possible! I have also enjoyed the fast paced environment of the job and learning something new every day.

What’s your current role? What are you responsible for? What do you do day to day?

In my current role at Spalding Salads, I have involvement in reducing risk of the raw materials coming in. For this, I have to work collaboratively with other departments to ensure that plans are made. I also have involvement in advising on and sourcing some new raw materials coming through the business for new product development.

What is the best thing about working for Bakkavor?

I enjoy working for Bakkavor because the team here is very motivating and helpful. I was very shy when I first started and now I am much more confident in myself not just at work but outside of it too. I also enjoy the fast paced working style of a manufacturing business and the fact that no two days are the same.

What’s it like in your team?

The team I am in is very task orientated which I like. The Salads team as a whole are very efficient and driven to get things done and to do them right. They are also very supportive and will always lend a helping hand if I am struggling or suggest ways in which I am able to progress correctly.

How would you describe the Bakkavor culture as a whole?

The culture of Bakkavor is very supportive with lots of opportunities for progression. I feel confident and motivated working here.

What have you done that you are most proud of in your time so far?

To aid with decreasing risk of raw materials I created a document which classifies all finished products into ranges, and identifies the riskiest raw materials based on the number of ranges it is vital to, and the whole number of recipes it is in. This way, we picked up some items that we would otherwise not have worried about. This document is now being used as a basis for the Spalding Salads Procurement objective for 2017.

Is there any advice you would give to someone thinking about applying for the Bakkavor Apprentice programme?

Bakkavor is a wonderful company to work for and my confidence has blossomed in the last 18 months. The team is encouraging and supportive, especially for apprentices who have had little or no work experience elsewhere. If you want to go straight into work but also gain a qualification, there is no better place to begin on the career ladder!

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