As part of activities for National Apprenticeship Week, the Apprenticeships team have spoken to current apprentices to find out about their experiences and reasons behind choosing a degree apprenticeship.
Chris Brown is the Site Hygiene and Asset Care Manager at Frank Roberts & Sons, a family-owned bakery who work across three sites in Cheshire. He is also working towards the Level 6 Food Industry Technical Professional Degree Apprenticeship at Harper Adams University.
Chris has worked at Frank Browns & Sons for ten years in a number of different roles but realised he had come to a point in his career where he needed to attain a formal qualification in order to progress further.
Chris and his manager spent time researching different universities and what they offered before selecting Harper Adams. Both liked the fact that Harper Adams specialises in food industry programmes and therefore was able to offer him and the business what they were looking for.
Chris started his apprenticeship in 2020 and attended teaching blocks on campus prior to the most recent lockdown. Chris had been out of formal education for ten years prior to starting this apprenticeship but he had been to university, so knew what to expect from on-campus teaching.
He enjoyed meeting others on the course, exchanging ideas and meeting different people. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all teaching moved online. He initially found it difficult to adjust; in his working life, Chris is quite active and found it difficult to sit in front of a computer screen for many hours. He realised that preparation for an online teaching session is key, making sure he prints off a copy of the presentation so he is able to take structured notes.
Chris does not feel that remote teaching has had any impact on is learning – he still attends lectures, has access to resources, the library and teaching staff are available to answer any questions. He said that all lecturers have been accommodating and his personal tutor has been helpful in proof-reading assignments and guiding with referencing. In fact, Chris said the support has been ‘fantastic!’.
Chris’ employer has been supportive of his apprenticeship journey. They realised the importance of training their staff and the benefits to the business. Chris has been able to seek help from other departments to apply new knowledge and skills and his line manager has been very supportive in ensuring he has the time and resources to enable him to complete assignments and learning.
Chris suggests that potential apprentices and employers take time to research the different apprenticeships available and make sure they are in line with their own personal goals. He recommends meeting with the apprenticeship teams within universities to gain knowledge and understanding of the structure, expectations and options available.
If you feel you are ready to take the next step in your career within the food industry, get in touch with the apprenticeship team to discuss the range of courses offered and your options by emailing email@example.com.
Written by Carol Rogers, Apprenticeships Manager