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Katie Lines, manufacturing apprentice here at Weetabix, talks to us about the experience of joining the team after she finished school, the opportunities she has been given so far and her award-winning cocker spaniels!
What’s your role?
I am in my second year of the manufacturing apprentice scheme here at Weetabix. As an apprentice, I actively learn and engage in many key activities that our frontline managers attend to daily. We frequently change placements to different factories to learn different processes and products – just as you would at university.
Most recently, I have been learning the responsibilities of a Shift Manager. This consists of a vast range of opportunities to get stuck into and improve my knowledge of the ‘Weetabix way’.
How long have you been at Weetabix and why did you choose to join the Weetabix Apprenticeship Scheme?
I joined Weetabix in August 2019 as an 18-year-old with a passion to learn, develop and grow within the food industry.
From a young age, I knew that the food and drink industry was something that strongly interested me. Little did I know at the time, in Year 13 studying four academic A levels, that one career fair would change my life forever! After many questions, I was hooked on joining the business and I was delighted to confirm my position here at Weetabix.
What has been the highlight of your experience at Weetabix so far?
One of the main highlights was to get the chance to go onto shift with ‘Team 700’ in Alpen! To be part of a team like that was an opportunity like no other - I had a first-hand insight into the processes and responsibilities the team experience in a single shift. By learning through my own mistakes, seeking help from my colleagues and developing key understanding of life on a production line, it completely changed my mindset.
Not only this, but I am very pleased and privileged to confirm that I am one of six finalists for the FDF Apprentice of the Year Award 2020. I am absolutely over the moon, and proud to be representing Weetabix at a national event. I have my fantastic team to thank for all the guidance, support and recognition throughout my first year – which are all traits Weetabix proudly represents!
What would your main piece of advice be for anyone looking to start an apprenticeship?
My advice would be for individuals in schools to look further into the apprenticeship route. Before I confirmed my place here, I had already confirmed and paid my deposit for The University of Nottingham to study Food Science and Nutrition. This was because there were not many apprenticeships that caught my eye within the industry, until of course I was made aware of the schemes available at Weetabix.
I would suggest you do some thorough research into the opportunities out there, attend career fairs to speak first-hand to the industry experts and use sites such as the Government website or the “not going to uni” site, as I found these very useful.
What opportunities have you had whilst at Weetabix?
During my first-year placement in Alpen, I participated in multiple projects and shadowed managers in key departments from engineering to quality. These opportunities have set me up perfectly for my future years at Weetabix and I am already applying new learnings in my latest placement in another factory.
I have been in this factory for four months now and I am really enjoying my time here! I’ve had some thorough insights into team management techniques and explored some new methods to bear in mind moving forward.
What do you love doing outside of work?
Outside of work, my passion is to train and compete my two working cocker spaniels in agility competitions - Archie and Bailey. Archie is trained to Championship level. In 2018 we were crowned the “Crufts, Agility Dog of the Year 2018 Overall Champions”. This meant that I was live streamed on YouTube and Channel 4 and took part in interviews with newspapers, radio stations and the Kennel Club website.
We have both represented Agility Team GB twice in Slovakia 2016 and Holland 2018 where we were placed 4th overall, which I was most pleased with in the World Championships – which is like the Olympics in the sporting dog world!
Bailey is my youngest, now 16 months old, and will be ready to compete when 18 months old to which I have high aspirations for our partnership together.