My name is Jessica; I am a Manufacturing apprentice at Bakkavor Welcome Foods. I am studying at the National Centre of Food Manufacturer (NCFM) based in Spalding in Lincolnshire. I didn’t have any work experience in the food industry however, my colleagues are incredibly supportive. In my opinion you don’t need any experience in the food industry as long as you are willing to learn and put in 100% of your effort, you can achieve anything. As I was 16 when I started at Bakkavor I didn’t really know too much about and was referred by my school but, Bakkavor Welcome Foods Logo was the first thing that caught my eye. Before I had my interview I went on the Bakkavor website and researched all about it.
On the apprentice program I have taken part in courses and been to opening events that has helped me with both my work and my personal progress. It is a job with training. Meaning that you have a job that includes achieving qualifications and essential skills whilst you are working and getting paid to do so. Since I have started at Bakkavor, I have met so many incredibly supportive people and made new friends at Holbeach where I do my courses as they are the similar age as me. Bakkavor has gave me the change to travel to different places ; I went to Peterborough for the day with other Bakkavor apprentices form different sites, we all came together to volunteered at an exotic pet refuge. After the first few weeks starting at Bakkavor I went to Holbeach University; the place I study at for the ‘PickNPack’ showcase event where we was introduced to the Automated Processing Robotic Ingredient Loading (APRIL). Doing these sort of events is what makes it a little bit more exciting and rewarding.
Since I have only been here for 5 months I am just starting to get into a routine. My role is in operations management. I start Work at 8:30am, the first thing I do is check through my emails to update me on what has happened/could of happened overnight. At 9:00 there is a morning meeting where they review what happened the day before, sometimes I go, sometimes I don’t (depending on what things need to be discussed) after the meeting is over I collect the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and feed it into excel. I have projects that are given to me from my mentor. I help with agency workers and help out with anything they want me to do for my team.
The best thing for me about working at Bakkavor is that you are independent, you feel like you have a role and a certain importance to your team; I feel invited. Because it is an apprenticeship scheme, it means you may work 5 days a week ; working over two shifts, meaning I have met a lot of new people who are very understanding that I am new and would help me with anything.
My team are all very supportive and understanding, if there is anything I am worried about, I feel like I can tell them and they would do their best to help me. They are all energetic, always have a smile on their faces and they are friendly.
The thing that I am most proud of in my time so far is gaining the confidence to speak to people I have never met before. Before I started working for Bakkavor I was at school, I knew everyone their and when I left and started to work I didn’t know anyone, it’s a totally different environment, I had to be independent and build up the courage to ask my colleagues about something and if it wasn’t for my mentor at the time, wouldn’t of done it. He pushed me to challenge my fears and that’s what I did. Without my mentor I wouldn’t be the way I am now.
Being someone who had no experience in the food industry and came straight out of school, my advice would be to anyone thinking about applying for the Bakkavor Apprentice Programme is to take that opportunity. If you are nervous about it, push your limits. Apprenticeships are becoming the new ‘norm’; they give you so many opportunities. You’ll only regret it if you don’t at least try.More Experiences