Branston Ltd gives Lincolnshire youngsters taste of life in food industry
The biggest potato supplier in the country has given young people in Lincolnshire a taste of what it's like to work in the food industry.
Branston Ltd, which employs more than 300 people at its site in Branston, has been taking part in an initiative called Feeding Britain's Future – Skills for Work Week, which aims to help young unemployed people find jobs.
The firm has hosted two half-day sessions where people aged 16 to 24 were told all about its work and a given a tour of the site.
Simon Telfer, HR and logistics director at Branston, hosted the tour of the site which handles 175,000 tonnes of potatoes a year.
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He said: "We also discussed the sorts of jobs and careers people have here at Branston and what we look for as an employer.
"At Branston, we believe it's really important to nurture young talent in the region and we have a 'grow your own' ethos for developing skills.
"The issue of unemployment among 16-24 year olds is one that affects our local community and as a large employer, we want to help tackle the problem."
The Feeding Britain's Future initiative was the brainchild of companies in the food and grocery industry and developed by the IGD, a research body for the sector.
Branston worked with Jobcentre Plus to arrange the visits, which gave the young people a chance to look around the factory. Branston's Charlie Flack started out at the company 12 years ago packing potatoes and has risen through the ranks to become an ERP co-ordinator, responsible for helping to develop best practice at the company.
"I came to Branston for what I thought would be a couple of weeks, and I am still here," he said.
"The business has changed over those 12 years beyond all recognition, and I am really glad to be a part of it."
Ryan Butler, 20, from Heighington is currently looking for work after being a games maker at the Olympics.
He said: "It's been a really interesting day at Branston. It has been good to see what the company does and how I can get involved in working in the food industry."
Kyle Johnson, 22, of Lincoln said: "I wasn't quite sure what I expected from the session but it was great.
"I enjoyed tasting the Branston potato products, too."