Kepak addresses skills gap with new apprenticeship programme

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

(L-R) Chris Jones, head of Cambrian Training food and drink business unit, trainee Jordan Jones, Kepak training co-ordinator John Eagle and trainer Laurence Murphy
(L-R) Chris Jones, head of Cambrian Training food and drink business unit, trainee Jordan Jones, Kepak training co-ordinator John Eagle and trainer Laurence Murphy

Related tags: Apprenticeship, Meat & Seafood

Meat processor Kepak has partnered with apprenticeship provider Cambrian Training to address its need for more skilled butchers.

The manufacturer has worked with Cambrian to develop a new apprenticeship programme at its flagship facilities in St Merryn Merthyr.  

Chris Jones, head of Cambrian Training’s food and drink business unit, said: “Together we have developed tailor-made apprenticeships for different departments at the St Merryn plant, incorporating the company’s standard operating procedures. It’s a great way for Kepak to develop a multi-skilled workforce.”

All new recruits to the business go through a 12-week training and assessment programme that leads seamlessly on to apprenticeships.

Inroads to apprenticeships

Staff recruited in the lamb and beef boning departments are required to complete a minimum of seven knife skills tasks successfully during the training programme and their competence assessments carry forward to an apprenticeship.

Kepak training co-ordinator John Eagle said the training blueprint being developed at St Merryn will be used as a template for its other sites.

“I think we have developed a framework template that is very viable,”​ he explained. “We have a big workforce on this site and there are excellent career development opportunities within Kepak.

“Apprentices receive both practical and theoretical training, having the opportunity to develop their expertise, meet new people and learn new skills in a supportive work environment. Employing apprentices with diverse backgrounds and abilities widens our talent pool and brings new ideas to the group.”

Fulfilling ambitions

Kepak has already signed up 50 members of staff on the Welsh Government’s Apprenticeship Programme to upskill and develop its workforce, with plans to add more people each month. The manufacturer said its long-term aim was to offer an apprenticeship framework to all its staff at Merthyr Tydfil to them “fulfil their ambitions​”.

Meanwhile, poultry Processor Moy Park has launched a new apprenticeship programme​in a bid to nurture the next generation of talent in the food and drink industry.

The four-year apprenticeship programme – open for applicants across Northern Ireland and Great Britain – will provide apprentices with mentorship support and access to additional learning and development schemes with Moy Park’s engineering team.

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

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