As part of National Apprentice Week, Food Industry Technical Professional Apprentice Ethan Aldous and Technical Manager Cassandra Denton discuss the benefits a degree apprenticeship brings to the apprentice and the provider.
Food Industry Technical Professional Apprentice Ethan Aldous:
Having a passion for food from his teens meant that Ethan Aldous knew he was destined to work in the food industry, but he did not want to undertake a full-time undergraduate degree.
“A Degree apprenticeship suited me better. I wanted to work and keep learning - so this option offered me the best of both worlds,” says the 21-year-old.
“I applied to Avara for the apprenticeship, and knew they had a good relationship with Harper Adams. I knew about Harper from school and knew it was a good university, that the lectures knew what they were doing and how it was ran.”
Ethan is now in the penultimate year of his apprenticeship and says of his experience:
“The placements have been the best part for me – what I’ve learnt at Harper I can put into practice at Avara’s and vice versa.
“The combination of working at Avara, but learning at Harper Adams, means I’ve tried or learned about most roles in the food industry.
“My favourite modules and assignments have been Marketing and Meat Science.
“Marketing because it’s something different and creative, whereas Meat Science because it has helped me in my job.
“All the staff here at Avara and the lecturers at Harper are very committed to what they do – there is always support and help if you need it.
“There is a small group of apprentices and during our lessons we get to know each other and help each other as everyone has different experiences that you can draw from.”
Explaining why he enjoys his apprenticeship so much Ethan says:
“Every day is different! I’m now in a team leader role and look after a small team of Quality Auditors and ensure that production runs smoothly.
“I enjoy the responsibility and the fact that I have progressed so quickly with Avara. I’ve been there a while now and it’s rewarding to see that my hard work is paying off and appreciated.
“I was never unsure about undertaking an apprenticeship - if you’re committed, go for it. It’s worthwhile, rewarding and you get the experience needed to walk into a job.
“For me, there was no contest.”
Technical Manager Cassandra Denton:
“We’ve been really lucky with Ethan, he is very committed to his study and the things he does to support that study.
“It’s been good to give him the wider understanding of the business and that’s helped with his progression.
“Taking that grass roots approach, understanding his role and being able to put it into practice at different sites helps with that depth of understanding.
“We started Ethan off by doing placements and training him to complete Quality Auditor checks as well as temperature control and what to do if the product is non-conforming as well as other things.
“Ethan is now the most senior person on site in the technical department most of the time and is able to relate to experiences and make decisions that are in the best interests of the company.
“A Degree Apprenticeship jumps starts your career, instead of starting at ground zero you start with a degree and a qualification which shows that you have a myriad of experience and transferable skills.
“It really boosts your CV and you have an opportunity to try a lot of different departments and find out what you want to do.
“Ethan was our first technical apprentice and Harper Adams and its staff have been great at providing support. Something must be working - because we now have a second apprentice!”
To find out more about our Degree Apprenticeships click here.