CQM T&C are proud to have two of their Young Apprentices featured in Food Processing magazine to support National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and highlight the skills gap which is looming over the industry.
CQM T&C are proud to have two of their Young Apprentices featured in Food Process magazine to support National Apprenticeship Week 2016 and highlight the skills gap which is looming over the industry.
The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink has warned that a third of the 400,000 strong workforce in the sector will retire by 2020, including skilled managers and engineers. Young people still have an outdated image of the industry and don’t see the potential opportunities that exist, with apprenticeships offering the chance to become one of the next generation of leaders in food and drink manufacturing.
Matthew Hoare, 17, is employed as a Quality Assurance Apprentice at international agri-food company and producer of fresh vegetables, Florette Ltd. He started his 15 month apprenticeship with CQM Training & Consultancy Ltd in September 2015 after looking for alternative options when he found he was not enjoying his A Level courses. Although he’d never considered the food and drink industry as an option, Matthew saw a poster on the school notice board advertising opportunities at Lichfield-based Florette and, attracted by the well-known brand name, applied for an apprenticeship. After impressing at interview Matthew was employed as an apprentice with a salary.
He says: “I’d obviously heard of Florette, but didn’t know much about apprenticeships, so I didn’t know what to expect when I attended the interview. However, I was really impressed with the place. It was nothing like how I imagined a production environment to be. It’s spotlessly clean and very high tech! I’m now part of a small Quality Assurance team and my role involves things like ensuring quality and compliance procedures are kept to, conducting GMP audits and doing traceability tests. Obviously food safety is really important, so it feels good to be part of a team with such an important job.
“One of the best things about the apprenticeship is that from the very beginning I’ve been treated as an equal. I’m part of a small team who have made me feel really welcome and treat me as an adult - which didn’t happen at school. I’m ambitious, so I’m working hard and hoping to work my way up in Quality Assurance.”
Another of CQM T&C’s apprentices is Wojciech Kalinowski, 19, now employed as a Trainee Relief Team Leader having very recently completed his Improve Proficiency Apprenticeship in Food Manufacturing Excellence at one of the UK’s largest sandwich manufacturers, Bradgate Bakery, which makes sandwiches for Tesco. He started his 18 month apprenticeship in September 2014 after finishing school and looking for alternative options when he decided not to go to college. Initially considering a career in customer service, Woj applied for an apprenticeship delivered by National Skills Academy for Food & Drink approved provider, CQM Training & Consultancy Ltd and, after successfully completing an interview, was invited to visit Bradgate Bakery’s Madeline Road site for a second stage interview. After impressing the Bradgate managers, Woj was offered employment as an apprentice the same day.
After completing a year-long course and six month placement with Bradgate’s Intake Department, Woj is now the youngest trainee team leader in the company’s history.
Woj said, “I’d never heard of Bradgate Bakery before applying for an apprenticeship, but once they showed an interest in me, told me about the opportunities they’d offer me and allowed me to have a look around, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I couldn’t believe that I could potentially be in charge of a team of people within a couple of years. My apprenticeship involved learning how to use the complex, hi-tech machinery which is involved in preparing ingredients for the sandwiches, receiving training on people management and learning more about the day-to-day operations, such as compliance training, ordering stock and updating databases.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t done the apprenticeship; it can take ten years to get to a team leader position and in 18 months I am now being trained, which I’m really proud of. I’m also really proud that I’ve been able to save the business about £500 a week by restructuring shifts and looking at how the company was using resources.
“My target is to be the youngest manager in the company in the next few years – the youngest manager at the moment is 25, so I reckon I can do it. And I really want to stay with Bradgate Bakery to do it, because I owe them so much. If they hadn’t offered me the apprenticeship, I’d probably be stuck in a dead-end job like some of my mates. Instead, I’ve already got loads of great work experience and I get the chance to lead a team of people who are quite a bit older than me!”