Poultry supply chain strategy bring jobs & apprentice boom

2 Sisters Food Group’s goal of shorter, more efficient supply chains and even fresher, quality products is benefitting its Devon poultry processing hub as it announces the creation of 300 new roles and 20 new apprentices.

The food group is investing at its Willand factory and expanding operations which will give it a greater ability to process, cut and pack products for its retail customers.

An increase in cutting and packing capacity and new thigh de-boning equipment has bought about the need to take on the extra staff, boosting the current headcount to more than 1,200 since January with 160 new colleagues taken on. The 300 additional new roles will take the factory numbers up to 1500.

Keith Packer, Managing Director of UK Poultry, said: “We have always said we will invest at the right time in the right location when it benefits our business and our customers. So I am delighted that we are creating these new opportunities at Willand.

“It is not about being bigger; it is actually about having a smaller more focused footprint that has the capacity to carry out the whole operation. Willand and the greater Devon area is a perfect fit for us because it gives us access to a strong growing base with excellent farms and a loyal workforce who deliver day in day out.”

The large majority of the new roles are production operatives and there are a smaller number in finance, animal welfare, engineering and quality assurance. 140 of the roles will be converted from agency positions to permanent 2 Sisters employees, while recruitment manager Chris Adamson will hire the rest from the local area.

“As you’d expect, we are working closely with local job centres and we’re heavily on social media, but we also need to be creative in our talent pipeline searches,” said Adamson. “So this includes reaching out to back-to-work charities like Christians Against Poverty, PACE and army career centres.

“There are tremendous opportunities at a large employer like 2 Sisters and those with the right attitude and skill sets can build a great career here, as we’ve seen many times in the past.”

The business also aims to take up to 20 new apprentices in butchery. The new recruits would split their roles between Devon and a 2 Sisters Red Meat site in the South-West so they could hone their skills and ensure the training modules would meet National Apprenticeship standards.

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