Nine long-standing employees at agri-tech business Devenish are celebrating having successfully completed the firm’s first-ever apprenticeship programme.
Based at the company’s Belfast animal feed mill and distribution centre, the cohort have now completed an apprenticeship in Food Services Team Leading.
The aim of the programme was to recognise team leaders within Devenish’s production and distribution operations and provide them with formal qualifications to help them to fulfil their potential and support them in their career development.
Facilitated and delivered by People First, an award-winning employment and training organisation, they took monthly classes, working through study modules and assignments to achieve qualifications in Team Leading. They were then given the opportunity to complete Essential Skills in English and Maths which provided them with further qualifications to progress their careers.
Gillian McAuley, Group HR Director at Devenish, said: “Our people have always been our most important asset and we pride ourselves on providing a variety of personal development opportunities to help everyone within our organisation achieve their potential. So not only is our team getting what they need to stay ahead but we are also improving to meet our own business needs.
“This was our first apprenticeship programme, which was designed for our existing employees, and it has been great to see the team grow and develop their confidence further during the past two years with several of the group being promoted in that time. They showed a real appetite for learning, despite all of the challenges brought about by the pandemic and we are incredibly proud of them.”
The two-year programme initially started in 2019 before moving online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all lessons and assessments completed virtually.
Devenish supervisor David O’Halloran was one of the team members on the programme. He said: “I’m really pleased to have completed the programme, it has been a great experience and I’d highly recommend it to anyone in the industry.
“Not only has the course helped us to develop as team leaders, but it has given us a wider understanding of the business and there’s no doubt it has helped me gain invaluable skills that I will use throughout the rest of my career.”