meet our apprentices

Meet Bonita – Engineering Apprentice


What is your role at pladis and where are you based?

My role at pladis is an apprentice engineer and I am based in Harlesden.


How long have you worked at pladis?

Just over a year and a half.


Why did you choose to join the pladis apprenticeship scheme?

I was approached by a tutor at kingston college about a vacancy, and when I looked into it further I realised how dynamic and educational working in a factory like Harlesden would be. There’s such a wide variety of machinery to work on that I knew that I would never stop learning but also making me push myself on a day to day basis.


What does an average day look like for you?

There is no average day, everyday I’m learning something new, one day I might be taking apart a chocolate pump the next I might be covered head to toe in flour. One day I might doing planned maintenance and the next there might be a breakdown that we need to fix quickly.


What is the most interesting part of your role?

The fact that I am constantly challenged. It’s not always that the same issue will have the same solution and I love the process of finding the cause, a suitable solution and when it’s fixed knowing you’ve accomplished something.


What has been the highlight of your experience in pladis so far?

Meeting so many great people that care and want me to do well. There’s a real sense of community it could be 7 in the morning and you know most people would love to be in bed but they still smile and say hello as you walk past.


Why did you choose a career in your industry?

I love that with engineering once you’ve completed something you can sit back and just look and be like I did that. You don’t just use one skill, its logical thinking, maths, IT skills and so many more.


What would your main piece of advice be for anyone looking to start an apprenticeship in your industry?

Always ask questions, from the first interview to your last day just don’t stop asking questions. You might feel like you’re nagging but these people are here to help you and teach you. They have so much knowledge to give so take advantage and in Engineering a lot of engineers started as apprentices themselves so they know what you’re going through and are happy to answer any question you have no matter how silly you think you might sound.


What’s your favourite biscuit?

Chocolate hobnob every day of the week.

Meet Chung – Engineering Apprentice


What is your role at pladis and where are you based?

I am an Engineering Apprentice and I am based at our biscuit factory in Harlesden in North London


How long have you worked at pladis?

I have worked at pladis for 7 years, since 2011.


Why did you choose to join the pladis apprenticeship scheme?

When I was young I loved maintaining things, working on my motorbike, so when I saw the advert for the apprenticeship I talked to our engineers and it seemed the right choice for me


What does an average day look like for you?

I shadow engineers whilst I am training, working on mechanical, electrical or pneumatic systems. They get allocated jobs and explain what needs to be done and why then we do it together. The factory is massive so it can be any job at any time


What is the most interesting part of your role?

Electrical and Plc systems are most interesting for me. Because you cannot afford to make errors it suits me as I like to be precise. Plc systems and robotics are the future of industry so that is what I want to focus on


What has been the highlight of your experience in pladis so far?

The highlight has been the opportunity to progress. I started as a temporary operator, then became permanent as a cover operator. After that I became an Advanced Team Member in 2015 and then joined the Apprenticeship program in 2017


What would your main piece of advice be for anyone looking to start an apprenticeship in your industry?

Having a positive, ‘can do’ attitude and getting some mechanical experience if possible.


What’s your favourite biscuit?

Original digestive, addictive when you dunk it in your tea!

Meet Rachel – Commercial Apprentice


Why I chose the apprenticeship at Pladis

Once I finished my GCSE’s at secondary school, I spent a year studying fast track Business Studies and Financial studies at a local college. After my year at college, I moved to Guildford where I studied music performance vocals at the Academy of Contemporary music. It was here that I made the decision that I wanted to keep music as a hobby rather than as a career. After my year studying music, I had to make the decision about what University I wanted to go to. I knew that I wanted to go into the commercial side of business and so I had a few meetings with industry professionals who gave me an insight into the commercial world, but I still wasn’t sure on the University that I wanted to go to. I started looking into the idea of a degree apprenticeship, and I discovered all of the benefits that they have (e.g. On the job training, learning from industry professionals and no University debt!). I was immediately drawn to working at pladis because of the famous products and because after a lot of research I discovered how much pladis cares about the people who work there and the community! The fact that I would be able to work 4 days a week and attend University 1 day a week also appealed to me as it meant that I would be able to use pladis as examples in my work. The University that is connected with pladis (The University of West London) is also extremely well known as the ‘Career University’ and so they value the idea of working alongside getting a degree.


Application Process

I applied for the pladis degree apprenticeship online at Gov.Uk and then a couple of weeks later, I was invited to an assessment centre where I had to complete a number of stages: Group exercise, Prepare a presentation about something I feel passionate about (I chose music), Interview and SHL testing. I loved the experience and found it very interesting as it gave me an insight into the type of business that pladis is, and a chance to meet some of the team and ask any questions!


About the Apprenticeship

My apprenticeship consists of 4 rotations over 4 years around the commercial sector of the business. This will ensure that I learn about different sides of the business, and learn from the professionals in that sector. Throughout these 4 years I also attend University one day a week. I am studying BA (Hons) Business studies and working towards my Chartered Manager status at the University of West London.


Working at Pladis

Once I was informed that I was successful, I moved closer to the headquarters and started my first day in September. I met my mentor and the rest of the team in Own Label who are lovely and extremely helpful. I have learned endless amounts about the business and their roles and everyone has been extremely patient and engaging.

Over the month that I have worked at Pladis, I have been to a countless number of exciting meetings where I have learned more about the structure of the business and the different roles that people play. A highlight for me has been attending the the UK & Ireland Commercial conference with some of the first year graduates. It was extremely interesting as we got to learn about the exciting new plans for the near future. I also started my University course which I love and my tutors are very understanding that I work alongside the course.

I would describe Pladis as being a very welcoming and friendly environment. Everyone has been extremely lovely and helpful, and I look forward to the next 4 years of my apprenticeship.