The Employer: Cian Short
"Our apprentices join in September every year on a two-year structured training plan to complement what they learn in college. We want to give people that first step on the ladder to rapidly progress though the business as far as they want to go. The environment we create for them, the support, and the development we offer are to help them achieve their goals.
"We use apprenticeships to increase productivity in our factories and improve our talent pipelines by creating real career paths for our workers. If someone is experienced or has been in the industry for a long time, you would expect them to be good at what they do, but young people bring a certain amount of enthusiasm, questioning and fresh ideas to the role, reinvigorating working practices and suggesting a better way of doing things.
"If you have a happy, productive apprentice, they stay with you a long time, develop and, in time hopefully become senior leaders. We always want to bring fresh young talent into the business and we want to give people opportunities, but we also offer apprenticeships to existing employees."
The Apprentice: Tom Hogg
"I was a head chef in a restaurant but I had been looking to move towards becoming a development chef. I applied for qualifying positions, but it seemed to have become increasingly difficult to get noticed. I decided the only way into the role was to start from the bottom and work my way up, so I applied for this apprenticeship online and I started in September last year.
"Working in restaurants is very different to manufacturing, but when it comes to creating new dishes and menus the methods are similar. I’m really enjoying working at Bakkavor at the moment. We have a good team and I hope to be employed full-time when my apprenticeship ends. To me, this isn’t a well-publicised route to go down for a chef and it’s a more challenging job than I thought it would be, but in a good way.
"I also go to Reaseheath College in Nantwich, Cheshire where I top up the skills I learn in my role with further knowledge of the industry. Anyone thinking about an apprenticeship should give it a go. Be prepared – it will be hard at first – but once you get your feet under the table you will find it’s really rewarding."