Skills for the future

We need a pipeline of highly skilled new talent for our industry to thrive.

We're Bringing Britain Together to address this important issue through our work with schools, engagement with Government and support of industry-led initiatives. When we welcome our colleagues into our business - no matter at what level - we help them develop the confidence and skills to move onto and up the career ladder. 


Effective Apprenticeships

We’re extending our existing apprenticeship programmes beyond engineering by also investing in skills and training for the wider manufacturing and food science areas. This will help plug skills gaps when our more mature skilled colleagues retire, as well as help maximise the use of the Apprenticeship Levy. 

We’re committed to creating more apprenticeships than ever before, so that talented people can ‘earn while they learn’. We're proud that our apprentices develop the skills Britain and our industry needs.

Our strategy is balanced between offering new recruits the opportunity to gain new skills, and giving further development to our existing colleagues. This plan will see the creation of around 100 new apprenticeships across the organisation in the 2017/18 financial year, covering a broad range of disciplines, from Engineering, to Food Technology, to IT.

Read our case study (below) to discover what our current engineering apprentices think about our apprenticeship scheme.

Developing the engineers of the future 

With a likely future shortage of engineers in the UK it’s important we play our part in encouraging the best talent to our industry. As well as supporting apprenticeships, we are also playing a leading role in developing the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering based at Sheffield Hallam University and supporting the industry-sponsored Masters degree course in Food Engineering, also at Sheffield Hallam. See the video below for more information.

Pre-employment skills and training

Many young people are unaware of the myriad exciting roles that exist within the food industry, which is why we're working with local schools and colleges across the country to deliver pre-employment training and to promote the food industry as a solid career option.

This helps improve the reputation of our sector, and of the wider industry, as well as offering a great future for the young people of Britain. So along with others in our industry, since 2012 we’ve supported the Institute for Grocery Distribution’s Feeding Britain’s Future (FBF) campaign.


FBF harnesses the experience of industry volunteers to provide structured pre-employment skills training to year 9 and year 12 students, and to unemployed young people between 16 and 24. 

In 2016/17, colleague volunteers took part in 75 FBF training days. We also formed partnerships with a number of local schools to provide CV writing, confidence building and interview skills. This enabled us to introduce students to the many career opportunities that can be found within the food and drink sector. See the case study below to read more.


Case study: Interview with our Apprentices

shutterstock_165333119.jpgWe sat down with several of our apprentices, all at various stages of their training and asked them some questions:

Q: Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?
A: “I wanted to learn skills which would provide me with a career in the future. I chose this rather than college because I learn best by being ‘hands-on’ and my apprenticeship gives me that.” – Harry Cupitt, 2nd Year Apprentice at Carlton 

Q: Has this apprenticeship had a positive impact on your life?
A: “It’s been an enjoyable journey. The ‘hands-on’ approach with the support of the site engineers has helped me gain confidence that my chosen career within engineering is right for me.” – Joe Lewis, 2nd Year Apprentice at Stoke

Q: What’s it like to work at Premier Foods?
A: “I feel really lucky to be working for Premier Foods - they’ve been very welcoming and supportive throughout. I feel as though I’m a valued individual working in a team, not just another cog in the wheel.” - â€‹David Le Carpentier, 3rd Year Engineering Apprentice at Andover

Q: What’s an average day like for you?
A: “I spend most of my time in the factory learning and doing things. I’ve learnt about quality checks and getting to know the advanced machinery. I wanted to gain knowledge of food production and learn from experienced operators. My apprenticeship gives me real, practical experience so I feel confident and prepared for an engineering career.” - Christopher O’Gray, Technical Operator, 1st Year Apprentice at Worksop.


Case study: Our partnership with Sheffield Hallam University




Case study: FBF school visits

We’ve been supporting the Institute for Grocery Distribution’s Feeding Britain’s Future (FBF) campaign since its launch in 2012.

In this time, more than 200 companies have offered 60,000 places to help young, unemployed people with the skills they need to get a job.

For years our manufacturing sites and head office have hosted workshops for local unemployed youngsters including sessions about CV writing and interview skills.

More recently we extended our support by helping the IGD expand skills training to children in years 9 and 12 within schools.

For the past couple of years, Premier Foods colleagues have facilitated sessions with youngsters to encourage them to think about the world of work before they finish their studies and start the search for a job. 

Even our CEO and HR Director took part in sessions to encourage the participants, talk about their own experiences and the career opportunities available in the food industry. In the 2016/17 financial year, volunteers from Premier Foods took part in 75 schools sessions around the country.


Case study: FBF local schools initiative

Earlier this year, in collaboration with the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), we developed a local schools initiative. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to develop the skills of young people and showcase the career opportunities within our industry.

The campaign has seen a number of our sites partner with a local school to deliver pre-employment skills workshops. For example, colleagues from our St Albans HQ facilitated a CV writing workshop at a local school and also delivered an interactive session to groups of year 9 (age 14) students as part of the school's annual careers fair.

Students were encouraged to think about potential career paths that interest them and, through discussion with our colleagues, think about what training, further education or experience may be required and is available.

At our Ashford factory, the site team delivered writing and interactive sessions to a groups of 30 Year 10 students from their local school to help them with CV writing and interview skills ahead of their upcoming applications for college, apprenticeships or sixth form.



Did you know?

This year, we plan to create up to 100 apprenticeships across the business

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