My name is Catherine, I am a Technical apprentice at Bakkavor, welcome foods however my education centre is the national centre of food manufacturing based at Spalding in Lincolnshire. I have had experience in the food industry before in a restaurant kitchen baking the desserts, this helped achieve my apprenticeship as I had skills in time management and making sure quality within each dishes is to an exceptional level.
I was attracted to working for Bakkavor as it is a well-known international company which opened a lot of windows for me to work across the country and in other countries as well. The Bakkavor sites are not based in the cities across the country but in the smaller towns making it easier for me to commute to work. I was aware of the company Bakkavor as family friends have worked at their sites however what attracted me to the company is working with fresh produce and creating food products from scratch, I have previously worked in restaurants which use frozen or ready to eat products.
On the apprenticeship programme I have taken part in numerous courses and events that have helped with my personal development within the apprenticeship scheme. It’s a work based apprenticeship which means you will be taking part in the day to day tasks alongside your team/ department whilst also having organised study weeks at the Food manufacturing centre. The apprenticeship side of the programme allows you to view what it is like in a food environment whilst the working side allows you to physically be in the working environment and working alongside your colleagues.
The highlights of the apprenticeship programme are building the confidence and knowledge about the site and products you work at to help with the growth of your career. Furthermore to give you and insight of what it will be like in the food industry in years to come when you have completed your apprenticeship and may have gone on to the degree course or even become management at the site you work for. I was invited to a conference called The 2030 Conference which was an event where inventors have created machinery and robots that will make the food industry less demanding yet also making it more desirable to work in the industry.
My current role is a quality assurance apprentice, this means I work alongside the quality assurance and technical team, we as a team are responsible for making sure the food leaving the site is of the highest possible quality and ensuring that the customers we provide for are 100% satisfied with the services we provide and the products we manufacture. On a day to day basis I take part in random checks of products ensuring that the scientific factors of each individual product are being met such as the PH of products and Viscosity levels, these are crucial to the business as this is what makes the food safe to the customer and consumers.
The best thing about working for Bakkavor is the independence you get whilst working as part of a team. For example I work independently within the factory completing tasks such as Glass and hard plastic audits and audits that ensure the factory is to the highest standard regarding hygiene, safety and to ensure all the employees are keeping to the policies and procedures put in place to ensure food safety and personal safety. However I have the dependence of my team who I can confidently to go to if I need help or guidance with a task that I am not familiar with.
The team I work with is very friendly and understanding of situations because the technical department works with a variety of sectors everyday including customers, employees and also products. Because the apprenticeship programme means you as an apprentice will work 5 days a week you will see the different shifts and will be able to build better relationships with the people you work with which means you will be able to get more task completed within the time scale needed as you have the confident to talk to the people who work with you and also around you. One of the aspects that I am proud of myself for is having the organisational skills and confidence to check the products for a customer and approve each pallet of product myself and sending the lorry full of products off independently and confidently when we were short of staff in the department, I worked quickly but efficiently within a set timescale to ensure customer satisfaction and acceptance of the products on the lorry.
My advice for anyone thinking of apprenticeships is to jump at the chance, many young people are put off from apprenticeships as the expected path for a young person finishing education is to go to university, whereas with an apprenticeship to do both, you learn at the national centre of food manufacturing is based on and is a university site. However you don’t need to fill out UCAS forms and go through the stress of student finance and finding accommodation as you are working full time but also getting a qualification out of it. Furthermore you are guaranteed a job after the apprenticeship whereas going to university full time you have to then find a job after you have graduate. Overall apprenticeships give you the confidence and skills to feel comfortable in a working environment as an employee as well as the qualifications and life skills of a university graduate.More Experiences