Meet the apprentice: Kraft Heinz Kitt Green

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

(L-R) Billy Goulbourn, technical training and apprentice coordinato and Jack Wade, mechanical maintenance apprentice
(L-R) Billy Goulbourn, technical training and apprentice coordinato and Jack Wade, mechanical maintenance apprentice

Related tags: Training & recruitment

Training apprenticeships is a way of life at Kraft Heinz’s Kitt Green factory in Wigan – reportedly the largest food production site in Europe. Here Jack Wade, mechanical maintenance apprentice, and Billy Goulbourn, technical training and apprentice coordinator, explain why.

The apprentice: Jack Wade

I’ve been on a mechanical maintenance apprenticeship programme, in the Kraft Heinz can-making section at Kitt Green, for just over three months. I had already completed the Level 3 technical certificate, so the firm agreed with my college to bolt on the missing pieces I needed to become a time-served engineer and work towards a Level 4 apprenticeship.

Until recently, I was on block release at the college, learning some practical and theoretical engineering elements. Now, I am on-site, working with a mentor to familiarise myself with the processes involved in can-making.

The chance to learn on the job with a competitive wage, while achieving a respected qualifi cation, drew me to the apprenticeship programme.

I went back to college at 27 to study engineering and my tutors all advocated the virtues of apprenticeships, particularly with large reputable companies.

The Kraft Heinz apprenticeship stood out to me when I applied as, even from the advertisement, it appeared they were highly committed to supporting their apprentices and ensuring they got the most out of their time.

The employer: Billy Goulbourn

Apprenticeships have been at Kitt Green since its opening. This is a tried-and-trusted path to ensure skills, knowledge and correct behaviour are passed on to the next generation of engineers.

We facilitate mentorships across all engineering centres at the site to ensure apprentices receive an excellent balance of training. This allows them to assist with engineering improvement projects.

They support their training with job write-ups and/or observations to demonstrate their skills competency and knowledge of safe working practices.

Kraft Heinz requires high-calibre engineers to maintain, repair and develop the high-tech equipment on-site.

The skills, knowledge and behaviours taught are designed to shape individuals to work under pressure, minimise downtime and ensure best machine performance, while maximising safety and quality.

Without the apprenticeship structure, a natural dilution of skills would occur. We would not be able to track the levels individuals were trained to and we would be less likely to get mentors to train them as they’d be de-skilling their own trades.

Related topics: People & Skills

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