Bakkavor Apprenticeship Programme 2100x1400

Source: Bakkavor

Food-to-go manufacturer Bakkavor Group has unveiled plans to recruit 86 individuals for the latest round of its Apprenticeship Programme.

Applications open on Monday 5 February, coinciding with the start of National Apprenticeship Week, with successful candidates to start in September spread across 18 different sites.

Bakkavor said the significant expansion of the initiative, which it has run for the past 11 years, underscores its commitment to investing in new talent. The intake in 2022 was 60, growing from 44 in 2021.

“As the UK’s leading provider of fresh prepared food, we aim to attract and develop the best talent in our sector and our Apprenticeship Programme offers a broad range of opportunities for people interested in starting a career in a fast-moving and dynamic business,” said Donna-Maria Lee, chief people officer at Bakkavor.

“This year will be our biggest apprenticeship programme in a decade; we have seen its value to our business, and we are delighted to create further opportunities for people in the communities in which we operate.”

According to Bakkavor, the programme has a proven success in helping its existing colleagues develop enriching long-term careers with the business – many had gone on to assume leadership roles.

For example, engineering apprenticeship graduate Kayleigh Latraille now works as an engineering section leader, while former technical apprentice Macy Tello-Espinosa has recently been promoted to process technologist. “I chose a technical apprenticeship because I could see the benefits of going straight into paid employment, whilst training, with all the experience that it brings,” commented Tello-Espinosa.

Apprenticeship roles in 2024 cover a wide range of specialist areas including food technology, health & safety, supply chain management, operations, finance, and business administration, with a record 26 positions specifically relating to engineering. This is said to be a sign of the growing importance of technology and science in shaping the future of the food manufacturing sector.

Bakkavor noted that the apprenticeships provide real responsibility from day one, enabling apprentices to contribute to key business activities and projects, whilst also allowing for time to study towards a nationally recognised qualification. There is also the opportunity to develop valuable life skills through involvement in local community and charity initiatives and visiting schools as Apprentice Ambassadors, it added.

Spanning seven different regions across the UK, the 18 site locations where apprentices are to be based (with intake numbers in brackets) include:

  • Lincolnshire – Spalding (17), Bourne (10), Boston (4), Holbeach (4), Sutton Bridge (2), Barton (2)
  • London – Abbeydale (3), Cumberland (4), Harrow (3), Elveden (4), Premier Park (1)
  • Scotland – Bo’ness (12)
  • Northwest – Crewe (2), Nantwich (5)
  • Kent – Tilmanstone (6)
  • Nottinghamshire – Newark (4)
  • Somerset – Highbridge (1), Devizes (2)

Bakkavor offers two levels of apprenticeship through the programme that are designed to combine employment, on-the job learning, and work-based training.

The Advanced Apprenticeship runs for two years and is aimed at school leavers, typically those that have completed GCSEs or A / AS Levels and are starting in a new career. The Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship, meanwhile, runs for four years; and the Higher Apprenticeship runs for two years.

Bakkavor provides a range of freshly prepared sandwiches, wraps, pizza, and other bakery products as well as salads, ready meals and desserts to the UK convenience sector. It continued to win market share last year, with its most recent trading update for the 52 weeks to 30 December 2023 reporting UK sales were up to £1.82bn, marking a 3.9% increase compared to the previous year.