The processor took on the new staff between March and August of this year, despite a reportedly low labour pool in the area – due to low overall unemployment.
September also saw Avara take on seven new apprentices, including its first degree apprentices studying food science and food engineering with Harper Adams University. That month also saw a pay review, with wages increased 4.4% for all Telford-based staff.
Andrew Brodie, people and communications director, said: “Now, more than ever, we must focus on sourcing and developing our own talent.
‘Open up higher education’
“2018 is the pilot year for our degree apprenticeships, which we hope will open up higher education for talented students aiming to earn while they learn.”
Commenting on Brexit and its effect on the company’s workforce, Brodie said automation would play an essential part of its people strategy.
“By automating repetitive tasks we can become more efficient and also create new, more skilled roles that are more meaningful and better rewarded,” he added.
Avara Foods is a 50/50 joint venture between meat processors Cargill and Faccenda, established in January of this year (2018).
One of the UK’s largest food business, Avara employs about 6,000 staff across its fully integrated supply chain across agriculture, processing and distribution.
Graham Clempner, site manager, said: “This year has been fantastic for our Telford site. The factory has quickly adjusted, exceeded targets and managed the additional demand exceptionally well. The amount of extra work coming in to Telford will be great for ongoing recruitment and development.”
Meanwhile, in August, Cargill’s Wolverhampton site benefited from a £35m investment, which has created up to 80 new jobs.
The 80 new roles available include engineering team leaders, multi-skilled shift engineers and production operatives. The additional roles will bring the facility’s workforce to 250 people.