Courtney joined Nestlé’s team in York as a Level Three Technical Operations Apprentice in 2017. Since then, she has worked her way up the ranks at Nestlé to become a Manufacturing Capability Specialist.
Courtney is one of Nestlé’s Academy Champions, sharing her expertise with the next generation of talent at Nestlé and advocating for apprenticeships externally, including at an event in the House of Lords.
Why Did You Choose to Do an Apprenticeship?
I started my apprenticeship when I was around 23. I wanted to find a role that offered an opportunity to develop new skills and a clear career path, but I couldn’t afford to take the time out to study and retrain. An apprenticeship seemed like the perfect solution as I could earn while I learned new skills.
As one of the biggest employers in York, Nestlé’s scheme really caught my attention. I was attracted to the idea of working with some of the country’s biggest food and drink brands.
While it is a large business, it feels like one big family. There’s lots of collaboration and teamwork across the factory, which gives you the chance to gain knowledge from people with decades of experience.
What Skills Have You Developed as an Apprentice?
I picked up so many new skills as an apprentice – not just practical, but broader skills like timekeeping, communicating with colleagues and public speaking. I could never have imagined that I’d have the confidence to speak in the House of Lords when I started my apprenticeship!
I was involved in some really exciting work right from day one, getting stuck in and making a big contribution. It’s so rewarding to see some of the projects I worked on as an apprentice still being used in the business today.
Possibilities Are Endless
I spend a lot of time visiting schools, colleges and career fairs to speak to people who might not have thought about doing an apprenticeship. It’s important to show students or those looking for a career change the possibilities that an apprenticeship offers, here at Nestlé or elsewhere.
I tell people that from the very start of their apprenticeship, they’ll be working on the lines, and within a year they will be trusted to operate the machinery independently, some of which is worth millions of pounds. It might sound daunting, but through their study and hands-on experience, they’ll be equipped with all the skills they need.
I would urge anyone thinking about an apprenticeship to take the leap. If you’re willing to put the work in and have a curious mindset, the possibilities really are endless.