Nestlé have been offering apprenticeships for over 50 years and across the UK and Ireland the Nestlé Academy are currently developing 186 apprentices on a variety of apprenticeship programmes, in a range of functions and at different levels of study.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2018, some of our apprentices have been reflecting on their experiences of joining Nestlé and why an apprenticeship works for them:
Darren: Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship
Darren joined the Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship in York factory after developing an interest in Nestlé through a temporary role working on the production line. He had been seeking a career change after having served 24 years in the army. “I didn’t think I’d like or be suited to a job in a factory because I was used to a diverse role in the army, working outside. To my amazement I was wrong. I started to like it and got more interested in food manufacturing and the art of making chocolate on a grand scale.”
Darren had been concerned that his age and previous level of experience would make him ineligible for an apprenticeship, but attended an open evening and learned an apprenticeship was ideal for somebody in his position seeking a change in career, regardless of age.
“When Nestlé offered me a place on the 3-year apprenticeship programme I was so happy because I knew I was walking into a job with excellent prospects and a company that would look after me. I’m now 2 years into my 3-year apprenticeship and it’s going great. The good thing about it is I get to spend 6 months in each department. I get to learn different things, meet new people and see how the whole factory works.”
Katie: Confectionery Apprentice
Katie started at Nestlé as a Confectionery Apprentice in 2015 after re-considering her offer of a place at University. “I didn’t know what to expect as I thought apprentices were the young people in businesses who were there to make tea and do everyone else’s photocopying, but I’ve never been so wrong. From day one I was included in important meetings and made to feel like a valued member of the team.”
Within Katie’s first few weeks she was helping to develop the newest Quality Street at the time, Honeycomb Crunch. “From there my experience as an apprentice continued to exceed my expectations and I had a lot more responsibility and projects to work on. As well as getting invaluable work experience and a good salary, Nestlé is also funding a degree in Food Science so unlike a lot of people I will have a degree but no debt to worry about after!”
Katie’s recommendation for those unsure of what to do after school or college is to take some time to look through all the options being offered: “You never know what you might find and it might just be the perfect job!”
Rowan: Operations Degree Apprentice
Rowan is an Operations Degree Apprentice at Nestlé’s factory in Dalston. He says, “Joining the world’s largest food and drink company at 18 was an incredibly proud moment. Nestlé were able to offer me everything. A fast-moving, challenging role in a growing business, with real opportunity and a fantastic salary.”
Balancing a full-time role with studying for a degree can be challenging, but Rowan finds his apprenticeship is excellently supported with a structured plan for the future. “From day one we were encouraged to aim high and remove any barriers on our development. Nestlé’s culture is to challenge. It involves treating everyone as an equal, giving each employee a platform to suggest change. I was able to accept lot of tasks very quickly as an excellent support network was available, working with people who had served for over 30 years, as well as 30 days.”
Jessica: Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship
Jessica remembers when she was looking into apprenticeships whilst at sixth form that it seemed a very scary prospect, but she says since joining the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship in 2016 she hasn’t looked back. “Working for such a big FMCG company never stops being exciting. Nestlé has a large portfolio of brands and hearing what’s going on across the company makes me really proud to be working here. Despite how large the company is, it surprised me just how friendly everyone is, and how supportive they are of us younger people as well.”
The Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship is a rotational work programme combined with study at Sheffield Hallam University. Jessica says through the combined approach to work and study her, “knowledge and understanding of how a business works has really developed and I now feel like I will be able to make an informed choice of what I want my career path to look like.”
Throughout Jessica’s apprenticeship she has built a number of invaluable experiences including representing Nestlé at a trade show at Silverstone race track and being involved in the development of Salted Caramel flavour Matchmakers. “Looking back over the last year and a half I’m surprised at how much I’ve achieved and developed through all of the different experiences I’ve had, and I can happily say I don’t have any regrets!”
To find out more about becoming a Nestlé apprentice, visit the Nestlé Academy website: www.nestleacademy.co.uk.