Seventeen new stars of the wholesale sector were praised by the Government for their dedication to apprenticeships and training at the FWD’s Skills and Development Awards at the House of Commons on Tuesday.
The winners, whose ages ranged from 18 to 53, met their local MPs and other parliamentarians at a reception to demonstrate FWD members’ commitment to developing skills within the wholesale sector. They included apprentices working in driving, butchery, warehousing and administrative vocational courses, and others studying for management and post-graduate qualifications.
The awards were presented by Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service and the National Careers Service. She said: “It’s wonderful to see how important apprenticeships and skills development are to your industry, and that the contribution apprentices can make is being recognised here today.
“Employing young people brings the benefit of new energy and new ideas into your business all the time. Apprenticeships are a great way to get on at work and in life too. They are for people of all ages, and from what I’ve seen they can really transform lives.”
Mark Pawsey MP, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, added that in his previous career running a catering supplies distributor he had seen the advantage of employing young people.
“I’ve seen the wholesale sector grow and grow and I know the value you generate and build for our economy,” he said. “For the individuals involved and for the development of the country as a whole, the completion of an apprenticeship is just as significant as getting a degree and I’m delighted to support these awards which recognise this.”
Mr Pawsey defended the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which some employers believe is a disproportionate cost on their business, which could prevent future investment in training. He said it was ‘absolutely right’ that those companies who get benefit from apprenticeship schemes should make some contribution to their development.
FWD chief executive James Bielby said FWD supported training through its Fellowship Fund, which grants bursaries for individuals in the industry to learn new skills and build a career in the sector.
He added that wholesale distributors employ 70,000 people direct and support 1.3m jobs across the supply chain, nearly 2.5 times as many as Tesco, with jobs created across the UK in every nation and region.
FWD Skills and Development Award Winners 2016
Jared Harewood: Booker Northampton Since being on the Booker Greengrocer Training Programme, Jared has made a real difference to his department, improving standards and sales, regularly achieving top performance. Jared’s hard work and commitment was recognised when he was awarded Gold Greengrocer Trainee of the year. Jared has now been promoted to Supervisor and has supported two colleagues through the Greengrocer Training Programme himself this year.
Lawson Windmill: Booker Leeds Lawson has excelled on the Booker Butchery Apprenticeship after showing potential working within the other fresh departments in his branch, and he has won the Gold Butchery Trainee of the year award. His positive attitude and approach has since earned him promotion to Butchery Manager in Leeds where he is already making a difference.
Alan Cox: Booker Charlton Alan joined Booker as a General Assistant Butcher in April 2014 and is now Butchery Manager. He manages the biggest Butchery department in the business as well as overseeing the fish department. He has completed the Institute of Meat Master Butcher Award – the only butcher in his region to be nominated for the award – and he now acts as a regional Mentor.
Jeffrey Foreman: Palmer and Harvey, Snodland, Kent Jeffrey was unemployed before joining Palmer and Harvey’s Driving Academy last year as a driver’s mate. After six months of training to obtain his Class II Licence he became a fully-fledged P&H Driver and is now an extremely valued member of the Driving team.
Aiden Edgley and Josh Robinson: Palmer and Harvey, Leeds (Pictured with their MP Hilary Benn) Aiden and Josh started at P&H on an unpaid work placement scheme but impressed their managers enough to be taken on full time. Since them they’ve studied BTEC Warehouse and Storage Principles and BTEC Workskills, and are soon to commence NVQs in Warehouse and Storage.
Dylan Stephen: P&H Dunfermline Dylan joined Palmer and Harvey at the age of 17 and has shown great interest in his role as Stock Control Clerk at the Branch. He has committed to study for an SVQ in Business Administration which will help him build on his confidence and knowledge and will assist him in future development in his role.
Imran Ambalia and Patricia Harding: Sugro UK Nantwich Imran and Patricia are now studying for a CIPS Diploma in Procurement & Supply. They have already completed GAP sales training and have both recently been promoted from Junior Buyer to Negotiator.
Marianne Ball: AF Blakemore Marianne has been with Blakemore for nine months on a Warehouse & Distribution Apprenticeship. Her manager says he fully expects to see her become a leader in the business in the future and believes she has the correct drive and attitude to succeed in any avenue she chooses to follow.
Andrew Howell: AF Blakemore Andrew is on a Business & Admin Apprenticeship having started as a part time warehouse operative. His manager says he has become a very valuable asset to the team – dedicated, committed and passionate in his approach to his responsibilities, and looking to further develop his skills and knowledge to ensure he can build a successful future within the business.
Josh Potts: Bidvest Foodservice, Gateshead Josh is an apprentice drive at Bidvest, and is learning the role of a HGV driver but also covering all aspects of the logistics’ environment including. warehousing, goods in, replenishment and loading. His manager says: “ If people like Josh are the future of our business then the future looks bright. He is a pleasure to work with and mentor.”
Martin Cook: Bidvest Foodservice, Wakefield Also on a driver apprenticeship, Martin has taken to the transport department extremely well and is always looking at ways to improve the service to customers and will go the extra mile when asked. He has also taken his first steps towards working to gain his LGV licence that will allow further development within the department.
Victoria Garton: AG Parfett In just a year with the company, Victoria has undertaken as part of the development programme Food Safety, HACCP and IOSH qualifications which in turn has led her to develop specific in-house training courses in these areas which will benefit all her colleagues with their own development and learning. Parfetts, together with the Bursary funding received from the FWD, is delighted to be able to support Victoria in her university course, which will lead to a Masters in Human Resource Management in December this year.
Joseph Kaye: AG Parfetts Joseph has been with Parfetts for seven years, starting a part time checkout operative before undertaking his in-house NVQ level 2 in warehousing and storage. He worked his way to become a section supervisor within our Halifax depot and joined the company’s management development programme in October 2014. He’s now Supply Chain Manager and a vital part of the senior management team.
Amy Carr: AG Parfetts Amy joined Parfetts in 2007 as a part time weekend worker within the cigarette department before settling in the role of Checkout Supervisor. Amy is very passionate about Customer Service and in turn our Customers really do love Amy. During her time at Parfetts, Amy has completed the in-house NVQ qualification and has proven that she is a dedicated employee with a passion for customers, development of colleagues and self-development.
Nina Grosicka: JJ Foodservice Nina joined JJ in 2006 as a telesales representative and is now the company’s first ever in-house qualified nutritionalist. She has completed a nutritional advisor course and successfully passed her exam. She now supports school customers who are working to achieve the Food for Life accreditation, and other customers looking to develop more nutritionally balanced, quality menus.