RNN Training (@RNN_Training), in partnership with Rotherham College (@RotherhamColl), is working with KP Snacks’ (@KPSnacks) Hellaby site, which is reaping the rewards of utilising engineering apprenticeships to upskill existing staff who show an appetite for progression.

The team at KP Snacks’ Hellaby site, which makes KP Nuts, identified through their succession planning, that a high proportion of their Multi-skilled Engineers were creeping towards retirement age. Apprenticeships were identified as the method to fill the potential skills gap. 

KP Snacks' Area Engineering Manager, Paul Berridge identified two potential apprentices who had a background in mechanical engineering and the aptitude to make the step-up into the role.

Paul said: "We identified that we, like much of the wider engineering industry, had a massive problem with gaps between eras working as multi-skilled engineers. We had to consider what happens as our current team members approach retirement, and we were keen to promote internally. We knew that apprenticeships could be the best way to upskill our existing staff."

One of the team members who benefitted from that decision was Paul Law, an Advanced Team Member with 16 years' experience and a background in mechanical engineering.

Paul said: "It was nice to be recognised as somebody with the potential to progress. I didn't really know what to expect with the return to learning and I had some initial nerves, but I was excited to get started! This was a big career move for me, and a chance for self-development."

When discussing some of the reasons apprenticeships for experienced team members can work so well, Paul Berridge highlights the existing knowledge the apprentice already has and the pressure this can relieve on managers and mentors.

Paul said: "Paul having the existing mechanical knowledge has meant he hasn't had to lean so heavily on me as his manager or on his mentor to help him learn. Mentors are crucial to the success of apprentices, so much so we wouldn't run an apprenticeship without one. I remember my mentor was almost a father-figure, and somebody that I could fall-back on not just professionally, but personally too; that's really important."

When asked what his advice would be to other experienced staff who have the opportunity to start an apprenticeship, Paul Law adds: "You're never too old. If you want to do it, keep your head down and do it. I can't recommend an apprenticeship enough, it's a great way to push yourself."

Paul Berridge added one final comment for other businesses who may normally look outside of the organisation for their next highly-skilled team members. He said: "I'd encourage all employers to be mindful of the skillset they already have in the business. I strongly believe if you can promote from within, and offer training and development opportunities, you should."

RNN Training's Senior Skills Consultant, Simon Hartley, works closely with the team at KP Snacks.

Simon says: "The team at KP are a great example of thinking differently. They identified a skills gap and have taken steps to address that through an apprenticeship programme. They, and the mature apprentices they have chosen to train, deserve great credit."

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