Premier Foods extends commitment to double apprenticeship intake

Premier Foods, one of Britain's largest food manufacturers and producer of some of Britain’s best loved brands, today confirms that it will extend its 2014/15 commitment to double the intake of apprentices, for a further two years.

Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to earn while they learn and obtain valuable qualifications that can lead to a successful career. Premier Foods, which employs 4000 people in 13 sites around the UK, has been providing multi-skilled engineering apprenticeships for some time but is stepping up its efforts in response to a likely national shortage of high quality engineering talent in the coming years. The Company took on 10 new apprentices in 2014, more than doubling its intake compared to the previous year, and will take on similar numbers in 2015 and 2016, increasing the total number of new apprenticeships to around 30 by 2016.

The announcement coincides with National Apprenticeship Week, a national event coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service designed to promote the value and range of apprenticeship opportunities in the UK.

David Wilkinson, Human Resources Director, Premier Foods, comments:

“Innovation is incredibly important to our future growth. We need to continue to bring new food products to the market every year. This depends on high quality manufacturing technology and expertise. We find apprenticeships the best way to develop the engineering skills we need as they enable people to learn on the job as well as studying for a valuable qualification.”

Alex Pressley is a third year Engineering Apprentice at the Company’s manufacturing site in Worksop, home of Oxo and Bisto, where he's being trained in both electrical and mechanical engineering. His apprenticeship programme includes one year, full-time at college followed by four years of on-site experience, combined with academic qualifications.

Alex says: “I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship at Premier Foods. I didn't think a university course was right for me because I learn better by being more hands on. I’ve received continual practical training whilst also being able to do different skill courses to extend my knowledge. Premier Foods is now providing all the help I need for my HNC course which is required for further progress in my engineering career."

Alex has already completed his National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 and is currently well on the way to achieving NVQ Level 3. He has also successfully completed his Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) in Electrical and Electronic Control Engineering. Due to his great enthusiasm, Premier Foods is sponsoring him through his HNC in Electrical engineering.

Visiting Premier Foods’ Worksop site local MP John Mann said: "By providing good quality engineering apprenticeships, Premier Foods are giving our youngsters the opportunity to gain valuable qualifications to help get a well paid job in engineering, and also to earn whilst they learn. Going to university is not for everybody and vocational training is a great way to gain a recognised industry qualification and get a job at the end of it."

The drive for apprentices forms one part of Premier Foods’ broader programme to support skills for young people. This week will also see the Company joining the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) at the Big Bang Science Fair at the NEC Birmingham where existing apprentices and technologists will be on hand to give advice to young people considering a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) oriented career in the industry. Volunteers from the Company will also be out visiting local schools in the Spring as part of the Institute of Grocery Distribution’s Feeding Britain’s Future campaign providing advice and support to Year 9-12 pupils considering a career in the foods industry.

For further information please contact:
Maitland             020 7379 5151
Tom Eckersley
Lucy Watson