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Diversifying apprenticeships

Inspiring the next generation of professionals

By Sharon Blyfield  

A few of the latest apprentices to join the CCEP scheme. © CCEP

This article was produced in association with Coca-Cola

As a business built upon the strength of our people, we are committed to recruiting talent from a diverse range of backgrounds, with different perspectives and ideas. We are very much a local business here at CCEP, with factories and offices located in communities across Great Britain, making and distributing soft drinks for the GB market. It’s therefore of great importance to us that we contribute positively to the areas where we operate, part of which is ensuring we are creating opportunities.

We understand the importance of providing a combination of education, vocational training and practical experiences to help educate and inspire career-seekers. A diverse blend of skills and expertise can only truly be achieved by offering a broad range of routes and opportunities into the business world. This is where our growing apprenticeship programme comes in—a programme designed to challenge traditional thinking, break down barriers and inspire the next generation of professionals.


Over the last couple of years, we’ve accelerated our apprenticeship scheme—increasing the number of recruits across our GB operations by more than 50 per cent and investing over £1m into the programme in 2017. This year, we’ve welcomed 25 new apprentices to our sites and offices, and significantly, we have expanded the type of role and careers that we offer apprenticeships for. As well as manufacturing and engineering—professions more traditionally associated with apprenticeships—we have upweighted our offering in areas such as sales and customer service, and we’re extremely excited to have recruited our first ever legal apprentice in 2018—adding another element to the diversity of programmes available at CCEP.

These opportunities offer routes into careers that may otherwise have been unattainable for some. This is something that’s echoed by many of the young people we speak to during our recruitment processes—some of whom either do not want to or are unable to enrol into university after they leave school and college. We want to help these people achieve their dream roles.


As well as ensuring the roles themselves are diverse, we also need to ensure that our programme is accessible to as many people as possible—that means forming strong partnerships with key organisations and being creative with the content and channels we use. We work closely with organisations such as Youth Employment UK and the BAME Apprenticeship Alliance to ensure we are reaching young people from a range of backgrounds, education and life experiences. This year we also launched our apprentice recruitment campaign on Instagram for the first time.

Another important way we look to recruit is through our workforce itself—including “peer-to-peer” connections and knowledge-sharing with our current apprentices. For example, some of the apprentices working at our GB sites and offices are involved in the “Tasty Careers Ambassador” programme, run by the National Skills Academy. As part of this, they visit students in their local schools and colleges to share their experiences of working at CCEP and raise awareness of the different routes into work.

One of our current engineering apprentices, Kodi Gledhill, is an example of someone who has emerged as a real role model for others, and has become actively involved in encouraging more girls and women to consider a career in Stem. In 2017, Kodi was named “Young Talent of the Year” at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards and “Apprentice of the Year” at the Manufacturer MX Awards—two highly esteemed industry accolades—for her incredible work to date. More recently, another of our excellent apprentices, Sophie Paveling, won “Apprentice of the Year” at the coveted Food & Drink Federation Awards, having appeared in the government’s social media campaign for National Apprenticeship Week 2018 amongst many other initiatives.

Hearing from apprentices like Kodi and Sophie about their own journeys into work and how they’ve been able to make a genuine impact on the business is something we’ve found to be particularly motivating and inspiring for school and college students.

We look forward to helping to nurture and grow more talented professionals and giving as many people as possible the opportunity to learn, develop and most importantly gain valuable experience in a job they love.

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