Being a better apprentice: FMEA finalist interview

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Gabrielle Freeman is one of five finalists in the running for Apprentice of the Year
Gabrielle Freeman is one of five finalists in the running for Apprentice of the Year

Related tags FMEAs Award Apprenticeship

Trying new experiences and seizing new opportunities are key to a successful apprenticeship in the food and drink industry, according to Food Manufacture Excellence Awards finalist Gabrielle Freeman.

In this podcast, Food Manufacture​ Apprentice of the Year finalist and finance graduate Freeman said succeeding in an apprenticeship meant abandoning comfort zones and being ready to say yes to any chance offered.

“Saying yes is a great opportunity to develop your skills and to learn about yourself and where your skillset lies,”​ she explained. “You might say yes to some opportunities and realise that perhaps that’s not the path you want to go down.

Honing your skills

“The apprenticeship path is really good and you’re able to home in on what you’re really good at – you're often able to get experience in different departments and different roles. In the food industry, it’s really fast-paced and challenging and a great industry to learn.”

Like many apprentices in the food and drink industry, Freeman’s time at Pilgrim’s pride has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not one to be put down by the challenges, she reflected positively on the effect it has had on the industry.

“It’s been challenging, but in another way, it has also shown how important the food industry is, so that has given me motivation to try my hardest in my exams and make a good career out of the apprenticeship,​” she added.

Awards night

Freeman is one of five finalists nominated for Apprentice of the Year at the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards, sponsored by Dawn Foods and Fowler Welch. Winners will be revealed in an exclusive online ceremony to be held from 5pm to 6pm on Thursday 11 February – a full list of finalists in all categories is available on the awards website.

Commenting on her nomination, Freeman said: “I was really happy to be recognised for the work I’ve been doing, especially with 2020 being such a difficult year. It was a really nice way to end the year knowing that I had been nominated and coming into 2021 with the prospect of hearing the results.

“Even if I don’t win, it’s such an honour to have been nominated. I’ve been really happy about it. Winning would boost my confidence in my abilities and make me feel like a made the right decision in the career that I have chosen.”

Meanwhile, visit our library of podcasts​ to listen to interviews with the rest of the finalists in the Apprentice of the Year category, as well as exclusive talks with captains of industry and the key trends within the food and drink industry.

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