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Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship boosts PepsiCo’s Apprenticeship Programme

Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship boosts PepsiCo’s Apprenticeship Programme

11/10/2019 - Posted in: General news

Food manufacturing giant and FDQ end-point assessment customer, PepsiCo, are embracing the FDPO apprenticeship to enhance and standardise their training across their Walkers Crisps production sites.

Over fifty apprentices have successfully completed their FDQ end-point assessment (EPA) and PepsiCo now have around 275 apprentices on programmes throughout the UK.

Mandy Reader, Organisational Capability Manager, UK and Ireland, explains how the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship fits into their ‘Grow our Own’ strategy,

“We have a four-stage technical pipeline and our aim is to develop our own technical talent from entry level, General Support Operators. The FDPO apprenticeship enabled us to map our training needs into a nationally accredited qualification. This makes it a much more attractive prospect for potential candidates. They can see that there’s a career path open to them if they work hard. For some it’s the first time they’ve ever achieved a qualification.”

With over 1500 applicants for less than 100 vacancies recently, their approach looks to be working.

End-point assessment a game changer!

Managing a multi-site apprenticeship programme requires significant resource, according to Reader. In her view, key to PepsiCo’s success is the three-way partnership between FDQ, as their EPA partner, PepsiCo, and CQM, their training provider. EPA represents a game changer for everyone, says Reader,

“For business and apprentices, EPA provides independent verification that they have achieved a recognised industry standard, one developed by food manufacturers themselves. For us it’s vitally important to work with a food specialist EPA organisation. With high volumes of apprentices going through end-point assessment, having assessors with solid occupational experience combined with a dedicated EPA Manager is central to the success of the programme.”

The Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship is now firmly established as the entry level production qualification for PepsiCo’s UK businesses. It has resulted in what Reader believes are ‘Gold Standard’ General Operators. And she’s not the only advocate of their apprenticeship programme. PepsiCo won the Food Manufacture Training Award in 2018 and have recently been named as an East Midlands Regional Finalist in the Employer of the Year category of the 2019 National Apprenticeship Awards.

Find out more about the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship and end-point assessment here.