Comment: Exploring new way to recruit in poultry processing

By Graham Clempner, Site Manager at Avara Foods Telford

Attracting people to work in poultry processing has always been a challenge, in part due to misconceptions about the industry and working conditions. To combat this and to give potential colleagues a real understanding of how we operate and what we offer as an employer, we held an open day at our Telford processing site in January.

We offered visitors tours of our state-of-the-art factory with its advanced manufacturing technology, the chance to taste some of the delicious products made on-site, and the opportunity to meet with some of the team.

Career opportunities at all levels of the business were showcased, with experienced colleagues from different departments and functions on-hand to explain the roles. The site team fielded queries about the company’s engineering apprenticeships, manufacturing positions, technical roles and logistics opportunities, and spoke with over 130 visitors.

Obviously, there are risks with inviting members of the public into the heart of your operations – we managed factory tours carefully and ensured all visitors were escorted while on-site, with over 50 Avara colleagues helping make the day a success. A huge amount of organisation went into developing this event and I was very proud of how well the team managed the day – it’s no mean feat hosting so many people but they took it in their stride!

While our main focus was attracting new employees, we encouraged those from the local area who wanted to know more about us to attend too – we recognise it’s all too easy to be an anonymous factory on the edge of town, and welcomed our neighbours to learn what it is we do. Maintaining strong links with local people is very important to Avara a whole, and this was a great opportunity to really connect with the community.

The feedback we had was overwhelmingly positive – everyone who completed our post-event feedback form was complimentary about the site, our people and the organisation of the day. We made a number of job offers as a direct result of the event across production, engineering, quality assurance and logistics. Pleasingly, further applications are being processed by our site HR colleagues.

We strive to be a company people want to work with and for – by being open and honest about how we operate and giving people a real taste of working for Avara, we believe we can prove our value to local communities and attract those best-suited to working for us. We plan to expand the programme at other Avara sites – we had an open evening dedicated to engineering and hygiene careers at our Hereford site in February, with more events planned for later in the year.

 

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