Catherine McKinnell, MP for Newcastle North, visited the Nestlé confectionery factory in Fawdon today, to learn more about Nestlé’s wide range of apprenticeship schemes across its UK operations. The visit took place as part of her educational Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship exploring skills and employment in the local economy.
The factory in Fawdon, which employs over 600 people, is home to some of Nestlé’s most iconic confectionery brands such as Rolo, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles and Toffee Crisp.
A highlight of the visit for Catherine was meeting with apprentices at the factory, including Dan Chapman who is a Food Manufacturing Apprentice and is currently in the second year of his three year apprenticeship. Dan spoke to Catherine about the training he receives at Nestlé, in particular the scope and variety of his role.
During her visit, Catherine was also given a tour of the Rolo production line by Dan and Kevin Shrimpton, Fawdon Factory Manager, and had the chance to meet some of the 26 apprentices Nestlé currently employs on the site.
Catherine’s Fellowship has helped her to gain an in-depth understanding of the employment issues and opportunities available across her constituency and has helped to support her role as Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships.
Commenting on the visit, Catherine said:
‘I really enjoyed today’s visit to Nestlé, in particular hearing from the apprentices at the site. The Nestle factory is a hugely important source of employment in my constituency and it was great to catch up with developments at the site, and hear how much they are doing for local apprentices. I would also like to extend my thanks to the IPT in supporting this visit and helping to bring Parliamentarians and industry closer together.’
Kevin Shrimpton, Fawdon Factory Manager, Nestlé UK & Ireland, added:
‘We were very pleased to welcome Catherine McKinnell to our Fawdon factory today, to talk to her about our confectionery business and to introduce her to some of our brilliant apprentices. We have a total of 26 apprentices working at Fawdon at present, and over 180 working at Nestlé sites across the UK.
‘We offer apprenticeships across a variety of different functions, including of course engineering and manufacturing, but also in commercial roles. Our apprentices are a central part of our strategy to overcome the skills gaps we face in the food and drink industry, and we are very proud of them.’
Dan Chapman, Food Manufacturing Apprentice, said:
‘I jumped at the chance to meet Catherine and share my experiences during her visit to our factory. I’ve benefited so much from the training, support and technical experience gained through my apprenticeship, and it’s great to see our local MP taking such a keen interest in the next generation of food manufacturers.’