Meet the apprentice: KP Snacks

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Jason Gulliver (L) and Gareth Dughan share their experiences at KP snacks
Jason Gulliver (L) and Gareth Dughan share their experiences at KP snacks
Recognising a shortage of skilled engineers coming through externally, KP Snacks has developed an apprenticeship scheme to progress its own people. Manager Gareth Dughan explains the approach, while apprentice Jason Gulliver shows how it is working for his career development.

The Apprentice, Jason Gulliver

As an engineering apprentice, my role is to provide support to the manufacturing teams here at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, while gaining valuable engineering skills through on-the-job training. This knowledge is provided via a close working relationship with my engineering mentor and the on-site engineering trainer, which complements my academic studies.

I’m currently on the BTEC Level 3 diploma in engineering and also an NVQ Level 3 qualification. Once the NVQ Level 3 is complete, I will move on to do the foundation degree in Engineering, delivered through Derby College where I study on a day-release basis.

With an engineering background in my family, I always had an interest in it, and an apprenticeship allows you to gain a good level of skill and knowledge.

The obvious attraction of an apprenticeship scheme is that you can attain the skills, knowledge and experience required to become an engineer while earning a good wage. It gives me a viable alternative to a university education. 

The employer, Gareth Dughan

The apprentice route is vital to providing adequate succession planning for our engineering teams here at KP Snacks Ashby. We have recognised a growing shortage of skilled engineers when trying to recruit externally, so the natural way is to develop our own people to the standards we require.

The apprentice route enables us to work closely with local training providers and tailor the apprentice training to suit the needs of our business.

Our apprentices learn both core engineering skills and academic studies while at college, combined with on-the-job training at our facility. They are assigned a mentor who is already a member of our engineering team, and this relationship is key to their development.

While with their mentor, our apprentices are exposed to a vast range of process and packaging equipment and are tasked with initiatives aimed at delivering tangible improvements to the way our site performs.

To ensure continuity between their academic studies and their on-site role, a dedicated engineering trainer oversees the apprentices’ development.

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