Greenvale now looking to grow its own talent at Duns

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Leading potato grower and potato product company Greenvale is out to grow its own young talent following official recognition of its site in Duns as a fully-fledged Modern Apprenticeship Centre.

Greenvale is the first Fresh Produce company in Scotland to be approved as a Modern Apprenticeship Centre by Improve Scotland, the skills council for Scotland’s food and drink manufacturing and processing industries.

The move means the business can now verify the attainment standards of its own Apprentices without the need to call in outside assessors from skills training organisations such as colleges or specialist private training businesses.

“Now that we’ve been appproved as an Apprenticeship Centre, our Apprentices will be able to earn, learn and pass as fully qualified all in the same place,” said Andy Ferguson, Greenvale’s Group Human Resources Manager.

Greenvale called in Improve Scotland to ensure its new in-house assessment and verification programme met the necessary quality benchmarks for trainees to receive formal Certification on completion of their Apprenticeships.

“Greenvale approached us because they recognised the opportunity to both educate Apprentices in their business and assess progress against recognised industry standards,” said Improve director Justine Fosh.

“We were delighted to support them in this and would be happy to hear from other food processing companies who would like to demonstrate similar levels of commitment to high quality Apprenticeship training.”

Greenvale, which has packing and processing sites across both Scotland and England, has built strong links between its Duns operation and nearby Berwickshire High School. It now hopes to enrol and mentor up to five school leavers a year as apprentices.

“The youngsters will spend two years developing the skills and competencies essential to running the Duns site,” said Andy Ferguson.

“We hope they’ll then want to go further in developing the kind of expertise that will give them the opportunity to go into more specialist roles with Greenvale.”

Skills council Improve Scotland supported Greenvale in developing, testing and implementing the procedures and resources necessary to assess nationally-recognised Scottish Vocational Qualifications in the workplace - with Greenvale’s human resources and training team now able to act as assessors and internal verifiers.

“Greenvale has already earned a reputation as an employer of choice in the area and we’ve no doubt this kind of commitment to structured training, nationally-recognised qualifications and significant career progression opportunities will be a major factor in attracting the next generation of talented employees,” said Improve Scotland’s national manager Kelvin Thomson.

Over the past three years, Modern Apprenticeships have played a key role in helping food and drink manufacturing businesses maintain a competitive edge by enhancing workforce skills and competences.

Almost 2,000 candidates, both new recruits and existing staff, have enrolled on a Modern Apprenticeship training programme in Food Manufacture at Level 2 or 3 since 2009. Apprenticeship training is delivered in the workplace by approved Modern Apprenticeship Centre trainers.

The importance of Modern Apprenticeships in helping ‘to foster the proper use of skills’ was recognised in ‘Recipe for Success – Scotland’s National Food and Drink Policy’ launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead MSP in June 2009.

Commenting on Greenvale’s Rural commitment to training, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I would like to congratulate Greenvale on being granted the Modern Apprenticeship Centre status. This is great news for the Duns local economy.

“Scotland’s thriving food and drink industry needs the right people with the right skills to ensure its continued success for years to come.

“The Modern Apprenticeship programme is a great way to foster those skills in young people and Greenvale’s commitment to this is an outstanding example to others.”