Meet the apprentice: Charlie Bigham’s

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Left to right: Business Improvement Techniques apprentice Bavin Gamnadasa and head of people Lauri Duncan
Left to right: Business Improvement Techniques apprentice Bavin Gamnadasa and head of people Lauri Duncan

Related tags: Meat & Seafood, Training & recruitment

Ready meal company Charlie Bigham’s head of people Lauri Duncan says a strong apprenticeship programme is key to attracting ‘brilliant, talented people’, who are at the heart of what it does. Planner Bavin Gamnadasa outlines his own development with the firm.

The Apprentice: Bavin Gamnadasa

I joined Charlie Bigham’s more than six years ago, after university, and enrolled on the Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) Apprenticeship around two years ago.

As part of the planning team, it is my responsibility to look ahead and forecast what we need to deliver, scheduling production accordingly. We share this knowledge with several teams in the business and I work closely with the production team to ensure we match equipment and people with our service targets. A keen eye for detail is important. 

I’ve recently completed all 10 modules of the BIT Apprenticeship, which focused on areas like waste reduction and working efficiently and included activities in the production kitchen, where we worked with other apprentices to assess where we could do things better. 

Charlie Bigham’s has grown significantly in the time I’ve been with the firm and, from the start, I felt really involved in its journey. The apprenticeship scheme has given me the chance to apply my new knowledge directly to my role and improve my performance.

The Employer: Lauri Duncan

Brilliant, talented people are at the heart of what we do at Charlie Bigham’s.

We launched our apprenticeship scheme in 2017 and offer a number of training programmes internally, along with learning and development workshops. Since opening our second kitchen in Somerset, we’ve recruited up to 300 new people and, last year, around 30 people progressed to new roles. We have 35 people on apprenticeship programmes, which are a great way to develop the skills and knowledge people need to step into new roles.

People on our BIT scheme, learn a wide range of Lean techniques, such as 5S workplace organisation and problem-solving. It’s designed to support the development of people into team leader roles, responsible for a range of areas in the kitchen – from ingredients preparation to cooking and packing.

Four recently appointed people are enrolled on a Level 5 Leadership and Management Apprenticeship and we’ll look to recruit apprentices to our engineering team in the near future. We’ll continue to upskill our existing team, partnering with a new apprenticeship provider soon to support future career progression.

Related topics: People & Skills, Meat, poultry & seafood

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