Employer Story

Boosting efficiency with Apprenticeships for Food Manufacturer

Fold Hill Foods Ltd is one of the country’s top dog and cat food manufacturers – supplying leading supermarkets and retailers across the UK.

The business, which is based on the family farm where the Grants have been farming for four generations, was started by Ted Grant OBE in 1979 as a diversification venture in order to add value to the produce grown. Today the business is one of the largest employers between Boston and Skegness and also has its own brands – Laughing Dog, Chewdles and Pointer.

Skills Training UK has been working with Fold Hill since 2015, helping to deliver Level 2 Apprenticeships in Business Improvement Techniques (BIT).

The 12-month bespoke training programme focussed on several aspects, including health and safety, teamwork, leadership and problem solving.

Employees also learnt about 5S workplace organisational techniques and the Kaizen approach to continuous improvement.

It has led to significant savings in both time and money as well as helping staff to grow in confidence and develop new ways of thinking.

Moving a business forwards it not as simple as just buying a new machine. You need to work with your employees and find ways for them to make positive change. If you don’t improve you become uncompetitive. We have to ensure our workforce has the skills to do their jobs in the most efficient and effective manner.

Brian Allen, General Manager, Fold Hill Foods Ltd

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I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process – it was a big eye opener and very insightful. Sometimes training courses can be very classroom orientated, but this was different – we could relate everything back to the workplace and we’ve been able to implement a number of changes, resulting in some very straightforward, easy wins.

Howard Bedford, Training and Continuous Improvement Co-Ordinator, employed with Fold Hill for nine years

It was very practical and very interesting. I really enjoyed it. When you’ve been doing the same thing for a number of years it’s good to take a step back and see how it could be done differently. Simply changing the way tools are stored has saved a huge amount of time. We’re now also encouraging other areas of the business, such as the planning department, to have more involvement in the production process, meaning we are constantly assessing how we can improve efficiencies.

Allan Gray, Shift Manager, employed with Fold Hill for 16 years

he BIT training was great. I’ve always had an open mind as I think it’s important to have a fresh perspective. But it highlighted areas where we could improve things and we’ve taken that on board and made changes on the factory floor. It’s saved time, reduced waste and generally just made our overall process much more efficient. It’s also been great to relay some of what we’ve learnt to other members of the team and spread the knowledge around.

James Luck, Assistant Shift Manager, employed with Fold Hill for 20 years

What was really impressive was that a lot of the team did the training on their own time. Most of them work 12 hour shifts so it’s a huge commitment. But it’s testament to the quality of Skills Training UK that everyone could see how much benefit they were getting, so they were willing to put the extra work in to complete the programme as quickly as possible.

Brian Allen, General Manager, Fold Hill Foods Ltd

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