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In this podcast, the Apprentice of the Year finalist discussed his role at the factory, as well as what it was like being a food and drink industry apprentice against a backdrop of a global pandemic.

“In terms of the business end of things, production has gone up and thus the workload has gone up,”​ he explained. “We recently refitted robots with a newer system that allows for double the amount of product through and it’s maxed out already.”

Learning providers

Greer noted that the biggest difference during his time as apprentice last year was the inability to attend college. During lockdown schools and colleges were forced to close, with many learning providers resorting to remote access to their courses.

“I’m a very practical person – I like to be doing work in the place I’m meant to be doing it – and we’ve not been able to access the software and tools required of our course, so we’ve been having to make do with what we have,”​ he added.

Prepared for COVID-19

While his learning patterns have been disrupted due to college closures, forward planning from Finnebrogue meant the same didn’t happen in the workplace. Greer noted that the manufacturer was already temperature testing before it became mandatory and an ample supply of personal protective equipment was on hand.

Greer is one of five apprentices shortlisted for the chance to win Apprentice of the Year at this year’s Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards – sponsored by Dawn Foods​ and Fowler Welch​. Winners will be revealed in an exclusive online ceremony to be held from 5pm to 6pm on Thursday 11 February.​ For the full list of finalists in all categories, visit the awards website​.

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