An apprenticeship with Coca Cola is giving Northampton College students an invaluable insight into a potential career working for one of the biggest companies in the world.
The partnership has seen the global drinks giant’s largest independent bottler – Coca Cola European Partners - take on its first apprentice at its Brackmills base.
The company employs 25,000 staff who deliver a range of products including Fanta, Oasis and Schweppes to 300 million consumers across 13 countries.
Associate director of supply chain, Clare Bottle, said: “Across Great Britain we have 22 apprentices in our supply chain and in Northampton we had our first apprentice, Shemaiah Cosgrove, join us last September.
“With Shemaiah we are getting the opportunity to mould the skills and experience she has in such a way that she develops the abilities and knowledge that is important for our business.
“It’s helpful for us to be a big part of that person’s learning at an early stage of their life.”
The company has room for a staggering 63 million cans of Coke at its Northampton warehouse.
Apprentices are given the opportunity to learn a range of skills across the business, working in a host of different departments such as the stock team, the gatehouse and the quality team – where students can learn about the importance of record-keeping compliance.
Mrs Bottle said: “Working with apprenticeships is the way for our business to go and I’d recommend Northampton College to other local companies. They have a great track record of working with local employers.”
“We need to look to the future. Apprentices are the future.”
For Duncan Stamp of Northampton-based Cosworth, the future of the company is clear, with apprentices holding the key to the ground-breaking technological advances so crucial to automotive success.
The machinist, who doubles as an apprentice trainer, said: “We want to expand and we've been through quite a tough period through the recession. We know now that we've got a future and we want the apprentices to be that future.
“We have a large gap in our workforce and we need to fill that gap, we need people to take the company forward into the future. We thought apprenticeships were the correct way of doing it, we want to train our own staff.
“Apprenticeships weren’t pushed for a very long time, everybody was told university, university, university which is a viable option but we now know that people need to go out and get apprenticeships and there's a different way of going into a career.”
Duncan has been training apprentices for the last 15 years and has been impressed by the standard of people that he gets through the college.
He said: “I got an email this morning from one of our apprentices who’s working with McLaren on their new car and McLaren have actually emailed to say how impressed they are with him and what he's doing.
“We’ve got apprentices in a number of different departments, engine build, quality, machining and production engineering and they work with the people in those departments who are passing on their skills. We should hopefully have a seamless roll all the way through into the future.
“I would recommend running an apprenticeship through Northampton College. My advice to other employers would be to just take on an apprentice, you’ll be surprised at how helpful and constructive they will be.”