Award Finalists Show What Apprenticeships Can Do

We have been working alongside Welsh food company Kepak for over 18 months now, delivering our award winning work-based apprenticeship programmes. Introducing apprenticeships into their staff’s professional development has created a highly skilled and motivated workforce and in turn a dramatic reduction in staff turnover. As well as becoming a finalist in this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru!

Kepak Group Limited is investing in its own talent and facilities as part of a fresh learning and development strategy, with a blueprint for skills development, apprenticeships, succession planning and management development.

“This process quickly became the framework that took unskilled employees to semi-skilled employees in just three months,” said Jeremy Jones, HR Operations Manager UK.

“From here they progress onto an apprenticeship with Cambrian Training Company. The programme links directly to our training matrix in each department with at least 17 tasks required by each apprentice to become fully skilled.”

Now Kepak Group has been shortlisted for the Large and Macro Employer of the Year Award at the prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2022. The winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on November 10th.

Click here to watch the full event.

The awards highlight the outstanding achievements of employers, apprentices and work-based learning providers and are organised by the Welsh Government and supported by the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

Kepak adopted this new work-based training approach just 18 months ago, but the company has already benefited from a 15% reduction in staff turnover and first-generation apprentices are already progressing into more senior roles.

Forty employees are now undergoing apprenticeships that include Meat and Poultry Industry Skills (Levels 2 and 3), Food Industry Skills (Levels 2 and 3), Food Team Leading (Level 2), Food Management (Level 3), Food Manufacturing Excellence (Level 4), and Management (Level 4 and 5). With all courses being delivered by Cambrian Training Company.

The apprenticeships have resulted in an increase in both performance and profits in specific departments and off-the-job trainers overseeing their development by creating individual learning plans in co-ordination with their training provider.

With over 800 employees on its books, the company has ambitious plans to increase apprentice numbers to around 100 at any one time. This will include new staff, existing staff undertaking new roles and apprentices progressing onto the next level of apprenticeship.

The strategy has been developed with Cambrian Training Company and Chris Jones, head of the company’s business unit for food manufacture, said: “Kepak are quite simply 100% committed to the apprenticeship programme and to their staff.

“They are investing in their staff and the local community to build solid foundations for the future and should be used as a blueprint of how to approach apprenticeship training to sustain a workforce for life.”

Congratulating Kepak Group and all the other shortlisted finalists, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Apprenticeships make a huge contribution to our economy and will be crucial as Wales continues to bounce back from the pandemic.

“They can help futureproof, motivate and diversify a workforce, offering people the chance to gain high-quality vocational skills.

“As part of our Young Person’s Guarantee, the Welsh Government will be investing £366 million over the next three years to deliver 125,000 all-age apprenticeships across Wales during the current term of government.

“We want to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop transferable skills in the workplace and improve their lives. The investment will also help tackle skills shortages and gaps in priority sectors critical to drive productivity and economic growth, supporting our net zero ambitions, the every-day foundational economy and public services.”

If you are interested in joining Kepak in growing your business with apprenticeships, contact us today for tailored advice.

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.