Meet the apprentice: Weetabix

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

James Bell (left) and Paul Middlehurst (right) discuss Weetabix's apprenticeship programme
James Bell (left) and Paul Middlehurst (right) discuss Weetabix's apprenticeship programme
Breakfast cereals firm Weetabix believes in a flat structure, so that its apprentices’ learning and input help future-proof the business. Here, apprentice James Bell (pictured, left) explains how important this is for his development, while employer Paul Middlehurst (right) outlines the firm’s approach.

The apprentice: James Bell

I am a manufacturing apprentice fulfilling a role as maintenance planner at Weetabix’s most complex factory – Burton Latimer.

The job requires me to work and plan with a variety of contractors and internal Weetabix teams, ensuring we deliver what is promised to the business to help drive improvement and bring innovative products to consumers. This could be in maintenance and reliability to improve plant performance, or in the installation of new equipment and projects.

For me to be in this position at such a young age, and to have this influence and responsibility in a big organisation, is great for my development and something that drives me every day.

As well as learning on the job, I also study at Tresham College in Kettering. At the end of the programme I will have achieved NVQ Level 3 in Business Improvement Techniques.

I was drawn to a job in manufacturing because of my love for BBC TV show Inside the Factory and a fascination with how things are made. I went through a two-stage interview process and was lucky enough to get the job – and I haven’t looked back since.

The employer:Paul Middlehurst

At Weetabix, we believe apprenticeships are the right thing to do. Weetabix is a major employer in Northamptonshire, with 1,100 staff across two manufacturing sites. Over recent years there has been a commitment to grow the brand-name locally and to engage with the community to ensure the company continues to be an employer of choice.

Weetabix aims to give its apprentices a well-rounded view of the company, the skills to succeed in their role and the knowledge to become future leaders. We have a flat business structure, so they get access to senior members of the team from the start. Partnering with a local college in developing the programme and attracting students has been very successful for us.

Apprentices reflect our long-standing commitment to investing in our people and helping them reach their full potential, and we will continue to bring new apprentices to the business. Weetabix looks for ambitious, driven and talented individuals to ensure a fresh influx of new talent continually drives the company forward, future-proofing the business.

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