300 Operations Apprenticeships boost efficiency for NWF

3 November 2017

An apprenticeship training programme designed to build nearly 300 employees’ skills has given a Chichester-based food manufacturing business a huge boost.

In April 2016, Natures Way Foods (NWF) began a new apprenticeship training programme to provide operations staff with a nationally recognised qualification in food manufacturing.

Chief Operations Officer, Richard Parr, is committed to driving an agenda that sees food manufacturing as a career, not just a job. In offering the FDQ level 2 qualification to nearly 300 production, hygiene and logistics staff, NWF has taken a major step forward in achieving that vision.

Working with Remit Group, a food industry training expert, the qualification involves hands-on assessmentswith operations staff during work time, as well as time in the classroom to ensure functional maths and English skills are at the appropriate level.

Remit’s development coaches and the NWF management team have provided best practice training on the line for the learners, while also assessing them during their working day to ensure these practices are routinely followed. Allowing time away from the operations wasn’t always easy but well worth it in the long-run.

Since starting the programme, there has been an increase in staff retention with those who have completed the qualification, and managers have reported increased efficiency in operations.

Rachel Jordan-Evans, Head of HR Operations says, “Delivering a programme of apprenticeship qualifications on this scale was no easy feat. But our Operations leadership were as committed as the NWF Executive were in achieving this. We are very proud of all of the hard work and commitment our employees and managers demonstrated in gaining these qualifications and we are so pleased for all of our employees who now possess a formal qualification in the role that they do, so excellently, on a daily basis.”

Those employees who have taken part said “it’s always good to study and learn”, they “feel more confident” and enjoy “having more knowledge about their job”. Learners also appreciated the refresher in maths and english. Where learners have challenges with their Functional Skills, additional support was provided which made a huge difference.

Natures Way Foods is keen to develop its staff and provides clear routes of career progression through Bronze, Silver and Gold level operations roles. The FDQ apprenticeship scheme provides a nationally recognised qualification for employees to receive recognition for their achievements.

Sue Pittock, Remit CEO says, “It’s been great to work in partnership with Natures Way Foods and support them to upskill their workforce. We don’t just focus on delivering a qualification, but on tailoring the training we do for the business we are working with. With such a fast pace environment, it’s important we work as best we can around the company’s operations, while ensuring each individual gets the support they need to complete their apprenticeship.”