Apprenticeships plug skills gaps at PepsiCo

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

PepsiCo has embraced the Apprenticeship Levy and has standardised training across all its sites
PepsiCo has embraced the Apprenticeship Levy and has standardised training across all its sites

Related tags: Drinks

International snacks and drinks giant PepsiCo has utilised funds made available by the apprenticeship levy to plug skills gaps across its manufacturing base.

The manufacturer, which won the training award at last year’s Food Manufacture Excellence Awards, has used levy funding to enhance and standardise its training and now boasts 275 apprentices on programmes in its UK manufacturing sites.

A majority of apprentices are on the Level 2 Food and Drink Process Operator (FDPO) apprenticeship, with 50 employees having already completed the course since 2017.

Meeting training needs

Commenting on PepsiCo’s apprenticeship programme, organisational capability manager Mandy Reader said: “We have a four-stage technical pipeline and our aim is to develop our own technical talent from entry level, general support operators. The FDPO apprenticeship enabled us to map our training needs into a nationally accredited qualification.

“This makes it a much more attractive prospect for potential candidates. They can see that there’s a career path open to them if they work hard. For some it’s the first time they’ve ever achieved a qualification.”

Key to the success of the apprenticeship programme is the three-way partnership between PepsiCo, its training provider CQM and end-point assessment (EPA) partner FDQ, according to Reader. EPA has been a game changer she explained.

“Recognised industry standard”

“For business and apprentices, EPA provides independent verification that they have achieved a recognised industry standard, one developed by food manufacturers themselves. For us it’s vitally important to work with a food specialist EPA organisation.

“With high volumes of apprentices going through end-point assessment, having assessors with solid occupational experience combined with a dedicated EPA Manager is central to the success of the programme.”

With the FDOP apprenticeship firmly established as the entry level production qualification for the business, the next step for PepsiCo is to develop an advanced programme to help advance the skills of its more senior operators.

Related topics: Drinks, People & Skills

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