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Our People – James Bell, Maintenance Planner

Last time we spoke to James, he was coming to the end of his manufacturing apprenticeship. A few months on and James is making great strides in his new role as Maintenance Planner and is a great example of Weetabix investing in its people and developing talent. We speak to James about progressing at Weetabix and working safely during Covid-19.

What’s your role?

My current role is as maintenance planner in our most complex factory, AP7. The role requires me to work and plan in works with a variety of contractors and internal Weetabix teams, ensuring we deliver what is promised to the business to help drive improvement. This could be in maintenance and reliability to help drive plant performance or installation of new equipment and projects. For me to be in this position, at my age and to have the influence and responsibility I do in a big organisation, is something which is great for my development and something which drives me every day.

How long have you been at Weetabix?

I have been at Weetabix for just over three years now, I started out as an apprentice and have recently moved into my role as a maintenance planner. I found the apprenticeship role on Indeed and as I love watching ‘inside the factory’ and seeing how products are made it was something which interested me. I went through a two-stage interview process and was lucky enough to get the job and haven’t looked back since!

What’s it like to work at Weetabix?

Working for Weetabix has developed me into the person I am today, giving me the skills to shape the rest of my career - really fitting into the apprenticeship slogan of ‘start your career the way you start your day!’

I’m always being coached by my line manager to enable me to take on more responsibility to drive improvement within the business unit. The people and benefits here are second to none, really giving it a family environment feel. Further to this, due to the current situation with COVID-19, it gives me great sense of pride that throughout this pandemic, I am still able to come to work safely as a key worker and help feed the nation.

What do you most enjoy about working at Weetabix?

I love the fact that there are no two days the same - they are always different, providing challenges and opportunities to improve our current ways of working every day. Not to mention being encouraged to eat a great breakfast every day and knowing that you are providing a healthy breakfast for millions of people each morning - that’s something I feel proud of.

What opportunities have you had whilst at Weetabix?

I have had masses of opportunities while working at Weetabix, from winning highly commended apprentice of the year, to courses which have developed me ready for future roles. I am now IOSH qualified and soon will be studying for my Prince2 qualification. Throughout my apprenticeship I have completed my Level 3 Business Improvement Techniques, which again empowers me to be the best I can be on a day to day basis.

What do you love doing outside of work? Outside of work I like to play football and go to the gym. I have been playing football since I was 5 and currently play for my local Sunday league team in Northampton. I attend the gym four times a week after work which allows me to stay disciplined and motivated in all areas of life. Having said that, I’m making the best of lockdown and spending my time completing my Level 5 Operations Management course which again, Weetabix has invested in to help me with my development. This is just another example of what it’s like to work for this blue-chip company.