National Apprenticeship Week 2023: Nestlé apprentice shares ingredients for success

Posted on 8 Feb 2023 by The Manufacturer

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (6-12th February) Alex Bracher, a manufacturing apprentice at Nestlé’s site in Halifax, has shared insight into his experience, and top tips for those thinking about an apprenticeship.

Alex has worked across some of Nestlé’s leading brands, including Quality Street and After Eight, since joining the team in Halifax in October 2021. He played a role in supporting the transition to more sustainable paper wrappers across the Quality Street range – a move that will prevent more than two billion pieces of packaging material ending up as landfill each year.

Speaking about the project, Alex said: “I knew it was going to have a major sustainability impact for the business, so it was really rewarding to be part of that team.”

As part of his apprenticeship, Alex has worked across different areas of the business to give him a deeper understanding of the entire manufacturing process, with the aim of improving performance on the production lines. Since the Quality Street project ended, Alex has started work on a trial to speed up the cutting process of After Eight.

He said: “The breadth of products Nestlé manufactures means that you get to try so many different things. It’s been fascinating to see how all the different elements of the production process contribute to the bigger picture. I’ve learnt so many new skills, particularly when it comes to the more technical side of things.”

Alex didn’t have a clear idea of what he wanted to do after finishing college but knew that he would be best suited to something hands-on, which is why an apprenticeship seemed like a good fit. The role at Nestlé caught his eye straight away when he was looking online.

He said: “I found the idea of food manufacturing really interesting and knew there would be plenty of opportunities. And it’s a good feeling knowing that the products you’re working on might be enjoyed by your family or friends.

“I’ve been lucky that my manager had been through the same apprenticeship as me, so he’s been able to guide me through the process from day one. He’s really supportive when it comes to balancing my work with my studies too.”

Alex is now halfway through his apprenticeship and his responsibilities are growing, meaning he is allowed to operate some of the machinery without supervision. He’s starting to think about the next steps in his career now, with the aim of becoming a lead operator.

But it’s not just been the opportunity to develop his technical skills that has stood out for Alex.

“It’s also the diversity of people I work with that I enjoy,” he added. “I’ve had the chance to meet lots of different characters who have all made me feel welcome.”

To read similar articles, check out our People & Skills channel.