Higher Level Apprenticeships with the Kerry Group
April 27, 2021
Local food manufacturer, Kerry Group has been working with the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) for several years developing their staff through the provision of a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) in Food and Drink Manufacture. To mark Northern Ireland Apprenticeship week, Monday 26th to Friday 30th April, we recently spoke to Raymond Hemphill, Production Manager and Fiona Hamilton, Operations Apprentice based in Kerry, Omagh about their experiences with the CAFRE programme.
Raymond said “The Apprenticeship Scheme presents a great opportunity for Kerry and our employees. The HLA programme is a productive and effective way to grow the talent and develop the skills of our employees. It provides our employees with the opportunity to learn about different sectors of the company and to hone their skills, filling any skills gap that we have in the business. Our staff gain an internationally recognised qualification.”
Fiona previously studied at CAFRE, completing the Level 3 BTEC National Diploma (ND) in Food Science and Manufacturing Technology.
“I completed a twelve week work placement for my ND with the quality team in Kerry, Omagh. I was encouraged to enrol on the HLA course in 2018. Through completing the HLA, I have benefitted from progression opportunities within Kerry and experienced work in a range of different departments. I am currently working as a Production Group Leader.”
The HLA is a work-based programme suitable for those who have completed A-Level or equivalent qualifications. Apprentices are released from their employment for one week blocks, four times per year. At the end of the programme an Apprentice will graduate from CAFRE with a Foundation Degree in Food and Drink Manufacture, validated by Ulster University.
Raymond commented “The scheme demonstrates how our Apprentices can combine both work and education and gives the employer a great insight into how they can handle their work life balance.”
About the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Manufacture, Course Director Nicola Kerr commented
“The HLA offered at CAFRE provides a great training opportunity for those who are about to take up, or are already in paid employment in the agri-food industry, to ‘earn as you learn’, developing key knowledge and skills to excel in your career.”
If you are an agri-food employer, and would like to find out more about the Food and Drink Apprenticeships offered at CAFRE visit our courses page.