PROCESS Engineering apprenticeship scheme

process engineering
apprenticeship scheme

PROCESS Engineering apprenticeship scheme

let us show you...

#

process engineering

apprenticeship scheme
at a glance...
STARTING SALARY
£ 0 p/a

plus shift premiums where applicable

LEVEL 3
qualification
Duration
0 months

about the scheme...

In this apprenticeship, you will follow a Process Engineering pathway, learning the science behind how we make sugar by operating and monitoring our chemical manufacturing process on an industrial scale. You will learn our unique process of producing refined sugar from sugar beet by using heat, cooling, pressure or a chemical/biochemical agent into an end product. You will also assist in the installation operation, planned preventative maintenance and repair of machinery such as pumps, turbines or compressors.

A 30-month learning programme, following the Science Manufacturing Technician Standard, achieving a Level 3 Process Technology qualification and all the practical experience alongside, to be ready to move into a Process Technician role. This is an exciting opportunity if you are career-minded with an interest in Science & Engineering and looking for a role being hands-on with industrial equipment and using the latest process control and computer automation technology.

Working from our Bury St Edmunds, Cantley, Newark or Wissington factory sites, on a 12-hour shift pattern of 4 days at work and then 4 days not at work. This includes working some weekends and bank holidays.

This scheme gives you the opportunity to:

  • Learn how the key operational functions (Extraction, Refinery, Pulp Management, Energy, Co-Products and Customer Supply) work within our factories
  • Gain a solid knowledge of our processes and equipment
  • Understand our systems and procedures to work safely and efficiently
  • Develop behavioural skills to be a great team member
I feel valued, like I am making a real difference and I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship at British Sugar. I'm also keen to continue learning more every day and progressing through my apprenticeship

stories

I feel valued, like I am making a real difference and I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship at British Sugar. I'm also keen to continue learning more every day and progressing through my apprenticeship

- Bailey Brook
Process apprentice

read more

Bailey Brook, Process apprentice, British Sugar Newark, joined Oct 2023

stories

Bailey Brook, Process apprentice,
British Sugar Newark, joined Oct 2023


During my time within education I never saw myself working in this industry as I had my mind set on becoming an IT Technician. This came from my key interest in studying how computers work, how they are built and the software behind them. This is why I went on to study BTEC Level 2 and 3 at Selby College. 

My three years at Selby College showed me a wide variety of fields that I could potentially work in. I had spoken to my teachers and mentors about going on to university, however I knew this wasn’t for me. I decided to do some research into apprenticeship schemes and how they can help with my future career. Straight away I could see the benefit of them. Not only are you gaining the class room knowledge, you are also gaining key hands on experience within the field. However, I was unsuccessful in being recruited fulltime into the IT industry and after brief exposure to the world of IT. I found that it may not be the career I would like to follow.

A year later I relocated to Newark to be with my wife and from doing so, I found out that British Sugar have a factory located just outside of town. 
I was still very interested in the idea of an apprenticeship and after speaking to my wife’s cousin and his experiences within British Sugar. I knew that this was the right pathway for me. 

I initially heard about the apprenticeship from him and wanted to make sure I applied straight away as I had done my research on British Sugar prior to this and found all of the great experiences and opportunities that they have to offer. 

After applying, I heard from the recruitment team and then the process of interviews started. The more I learnt about the role, the more I thought it would be a great fit for me. I was so pleased when I was told I’d got the apprenticeship and would be able to complete and gain my City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Process Technology qualification alongside it.

I was a little apprehensive at first as although I still liked the idea of an apprenticeship, I thought that may have been too old for one. However, after speaking to my colleagues and how they started their journeys within British Sugar, it showed me that you are never too old to learn. In my first three months at British Sugar, I have learnt so many things from a variety of people. I’ve learnt about the Intake of sugar beet and how we use this to make sugar and other co products. These are things I’d never have thought of based on my prior understanding. I’ve also learnt how important safety is and how British Sugar implements this into every job role. I have also learnt, how to replace valves, safely isolate lines and machinery and how to operate and manage a continuous manufacturing batch. 

I feel valued, like I am making a real difference and I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship at British Sugar. I'm also keen to continue learning more every day and progressing through my apprenticeship

My best achievement so far since beginning the apprenticeship would be being appointed in my new role as Development Shift Manager.

stories

My best achievement so far since beginning the apprenticeship would be being appointed in my new role as Development Shift Manager.

- Liam Walpole
Development Shift Manager

read more

Liam Walpole, Development Shift Manager, prev Process Apprentice British Sugar Cantley, joined 2017

stories

Liam Walpole, Development Shift Manager, prev Process Apprentice
British Sugar Cantley, joined 2017


Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I pursued an apprenticeship having worked previously in a more clerical role in order to gain hands on-experience, develop practical skills, gain qualifications and set a strong foundation for my career. Apprenticeships offer a unique opportunity whereby you are able to gain real life experience, work with experienced personnel, whilst learning and earning a wage. 

Tell us about your journey as an apprentice at British Sugar

The apprenticeship began attending TTE in Middlesborough to gain a number of Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in Process Chemistry. A group of 10 of us lived in apartments in Hartlepool for a year whilst we attended the college gaining valuable life experiences and building friendships. Following completion of the first year we returned to our respective sites to begin our qualification in sugar manufacturing. We spent a year in each of the following areas, Refinery, Extraction and Pulp Management working towards a series of knowledge and practical competencies which would eventually see us qualify as Process Technicians following an end point assessment testing our learnings through the years and our practical and health and safety capabilities. 

How did British Sugar support you through your apprenticeship?

British Sugar supported us through the apprenticeship by providing us with all the necessary tools to succeed in completing and gaining the end qualifications. We were made a part of a shift team whereby we were able to shadow technicians and gain the experience of completing jobs and learning first hand. Throughout the apprenticeship we were able to attend module days where subject matter experts presented us with information on specific areas of the factory and the knowledge behind each of the processes. We were also sent on trips to the Lake District and Outward Bound where we were able to develop our team building skills and build relationships. As well as this they supported us financially to allow us to learn at a bespoke college whilst living away from home which further helped us develop relationships and key life skills. 

What do you feel were the advantages of doing an apprenticeship over other education / training programmes?

Completing an apprenticeship advantaged me as I was able to involve myself in real life experiences where we could apply our learning first hand which helped our understanding and cemented the things learned in the classroom. We were able to build relationships during our time as apprentices and ask about experiences of technicians which had been in role for a number of years already. The training program provided structure and clear end goals and we were well supported throughout to ensure we met the targets. 

How have you found balancing your lifestyle and social life while doing your apprenticeship?

When completing the apprenticeship I had no issues in balancing my lifestyle and social life, at times the workload was quite high but we were provided with sufficient time and the necessary tools to complete it during working hours. As well as this with the unique opportunity provided for us to live in Hartlepool for the year we were able to build relationships and make the most of social activities as a group. 

Have you met any friends through your apprenticeship? 

Having lived with fellow apprentices whilst learning at college in Middlesborough I made lots of friends and built good relationships. As well as this when joining the teams on site I was able to build lots more friendships, as a shift worker you spend a lot of your time with your colleagues so building good relationships is key to enjoying and getting the most out of work. 

How did the apprenticeship help you kick-start / progress your career?

The apprenticeship helped me progress my career by working across the different process areas and learning where my interests lied as well as where I was best skilled. It also provided me with an opportunity to witness the different avenues possible of taking in the future. The apprenticeship allowed me to build a good foundation across all process areas which eventually enabled me to gain the skills and knowledge to progress into my current role now as Development Shift Manager.

What has been your best achievement so far? 

My best achievement so far since beginning the apprenticeship would be being appointed in my new role as Development Shift Manager. 

What would you say are the most common misconceptions about an apprenticeship in process operations? 

One common misconception about apprenticeships in process operations is that they are only suitable for those who didn’t pursue a traditional academic path when in reality they attract individuals looking for a more hands on approach to learning. Another misconception is that apprenticeships are only for individuals coming straight out of school, I however didn’t begin the apprenticeship until I was 19 and didn’t feel impeded by this in the slightest in fact previous experiences I had been involved in helped me throughout the scheme. Finally, people also sometimes mistakenly believe that apprenticeships lack the same level of recognition as traditional degrees when in fact many industries highly value hands on experience. 

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience so far?

I enjoyed my time as an apprentice enabling me to learn from those more experienced than me and built good working relationships which have continued to grow throughout as well as showing me the paths for progression that are available through British Sugar. 

Anyone can do anything they set their mind to! The most common misconceptions about apprenticeships in process operations is they are only for males.

stories

Anyone can do anything they set their mind to! The most common misconceptions about apprenticeships in process operations is they are only for males.

- Rositta Caesar
Process Technician

read more

Rositta Caesar, Process Technician, prev Process Apprentice British Sugar Wissington, joined 2017

stories

Rositta Caesar, Process Technician, prev Process Apprentice
British Sugar Wissington, joined 2017


Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme. It allows the learner to develop their skills and qualifications whilst earning a wage. The school I attended gave excellent advice and support to all final year students to take the next steps after A-levels. This allowed me to explore both options – university and apprenticeship schemes. I decided to embark on an apprenticeship because the schemes set out by all employers especially British Sugar had a comprehensive learning programme. I love learning, this was my core focus for further education. My passion is to pursue a career in chemical engineering. 

Tell us about your journey as an apprentice at British Sugar?

My journey as an apprentice is something I look back on with fond memories. Moving away from home up to Hartlepool was a large step away from the Southwest where I originally come from. We spent a year living in apartments on Hartlepool Marina whilst attending Middlesbrough TTE training centre. Here we initially learnt an appreciation of each trade from electrical, pneumatic, hydraulics, metal work. Alongside plant and plant services L3 which gave us an introduction into the workings of a micro lemonade plant. Moving into more in depth understanding of pumps, valves, bearings, gears. Before we then started our City and Guilds L2 and L3 course including 12 exams on chemistry, heat transfer, maths, separation, crystallisation to name a few. Our journey then continued onto site (Wissington) with 3 years of completing a Level 3 diploma in Process Technology and applying this to British Sugars’ sugar manufacturing process. This entailed carbonatation, crystallisation, lime kiln, diffusion with all the differing topics this kept me engaged and I enjoyed the learning process. To finalise our scheme, we had an end point assessment. This was the first time a process scheme had the opportunity to do this; giving our 4-year scheme validity. I can say I was relieved and proud of myself once those final folders were handed in for assessment.

You completed your apprenticeship through TTE in Middlesbrough. How did TTE and British Sugar support you through your apprenticeship?

We had regular review sessions with both British Sugar representatives and with a TTE tutor. This gave us a deadline to work towards completing sections of our work. There was a lot of paperwork and parts to the diploma so having the scheme given to us and support alongside allowed us the freedom to choose how we tackled it but guidance on deadlines so that we all were able to complete it within the 3 years.

What do you feel were the advantages of doing an apprenticeship over other education / training programmes?

The advantages of doing an apprenticeship are firstly, no educational fees as these are covered by your employer, unlike a university degree programme. Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to earn a wage whilst you learn. Thirdly, you can meet people who are like-minded to yourself and are likely to have similar interests relating to your chosen career. Finally, a lot of employers offer positions to apprentices afterwards opening the opportunity to start their career.

How did you find balancing your lifestyle and social life while completing your apprenticeship?

There was plenty of time in between exams and assignments to enjoy social events. Whilst attending TTE we had every weekend off, which we would often utilise for excursions and on weekday evenings we would often as a group head to a local football dome for a kick about. Amongst also being provided with a complimentary gym membership whilst living up in Hartlepool for a year, which was 24hrs and right next door. 

How did the apprenticeship help you kick-start / progress your career?

I am still at the beginning of my career. The apprenticeship has given me the knowledge required to hopefully be an asset to the company and my team. With the 3 areas Extraction, Refinery or Pulp Management under my belt I can provide flexibility within the team and move onto whichever area requires me. I have helped support the training of several people since finishing my apprenticeship, which has helped to consolidate my knowledge and gain further confidence. I hope to continue to build on the skills I have learnt and good working relationships. 

What has been your best achievement so far?

The best achievement so far is becoming the first female to be enrolled onto my intake of apprenticeship scheme back in 2017 and complete all 3 areas. Further to this pave the way for other engineering minded females who would like to embark on a career in this industry. 

What would you say are the most common misconceptions about an apprenticeship in process operations?

Anyone can do anything they set their mind to! The most common misconceptions about apprenticeships in process operations is they are only for males. Although in previous generations this industry was very much a male dominated industry. There are more females stepping forward and taking the role on. 

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience so far?

In a book I read recently a quote stuck out and has stayed with me, it said, ‘believe you can, and you’re halfway there.’ This is a message for anyone considering an apprenticeship or trying to take the next steps in their journey. Something I have learnt from this experience is everyone has the potential to achieve; the hardest part is getting started/applying. 

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn without needing to go to university. You can still progress and achieve your goals without having a diploma! Whichever route you take after leaving school, an apprenticeship should be one of the options that is considered, especially if you aren’t fully set on university. For myself, I wanted to fully change my career and wanted a challenge I could really set my mind to.

stories

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn without needing to go to university. You can still progress and achieve your goals without having a diploma! Whichever route you take after leaving school, an apprenticeship should be one of the options that is considered, especially if you aren’t fully set on university. For myself, I wanted to fully change my career and wanted a challenge I could really set my mind to.

- Samantha Glenn
Process Technician

read more

Samantha Glenn, Process Technician, British Sugar Newark, joined 2019

stories

Samantha Glenn, Process Technician,
British Sugar Newark, joined 2019


Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

I have previous experience with apprenticeships and really thrive in the more hands-on, learn on the job type of environment. British Sugar are renowned for their apprenticeship schemes, and I was working in the laboratory at the Newark factory when they were advertised. I had already been learning about the process and found it really interesting and wanted to learn more. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to learn without needing to go to university. You can still progress and achieve your goals without having a diploma! Whichever route you take after leaving school, an apprenticeship should be one of the options that is considered, especially if you aren’t fully set on university. For myself, I wanted to fully change my career and wanted a challenge I could really set my mind to.

Tell us about your journey as an apprentice at British Sugar

I started as an apprentice in 2019. The first week of starting with British Sugar all the apprentices were enrolled onto “an introduction into plant process operations” training course offsite. This was useful as it gave us foundation skills to carry forward to the factory. I hadn’t ever spoken on a radio or had much experience with swapping over pumps before and this course really helped all the apprentices gain confidence in factory conditions. I had prior experience at Newark factory as I had completed a campaign in the laboratory the year before which helped me acclimate to factory conditions quickly.

The development after this was workplace based in addition to attending cogent classes regularly. Originally these were classroom based at our Peterborough site but with COVID-19 hitting around this time we went onto virtual learning.

I started in the ‘Extraction’ area of the factory, which is where I was based the year before in the laboratory collecting samples, so I knew my way around this area but needed to develop my technical knowledge. I was surrounded by numerous knowledgeable and experienced technicians, and I regularly took part in sign off meetings to work towards competencies in role. I started becoming more independent and started shifts on the control panel and roving the outside plant with the support of my work colleagues.

All the apprentices at all sites were invited to outward bound in March. This was such a memorable experience and something I won’t forget. We were pushed past our limits and got to try activities such as: gorge walking, rock climbing, scrambling, kayaking, raft building, a treasure hunt, Jacob’s ladder and taking a leap of faith into a freezing cold lake. All of which were designed to help us maximise our communication and team building techniques. In the evenings we would do workshops, learning more about the business and how we can better ourselves in our job role along with the companies’ values. 

Juice run was then a time where I could learn the ‘Refinery’ area of the factory. There were so many technicians, each with their own expertise in different areas, which meant I could build relationships and learn at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this area of the factory and found I wasn’t limited in height or strength. I was able to problem solve and help technicians when things went wrong and ​found a real passion in learning this area. During my refinery training, when we were rounding up the cogent lessons and approaching the ‘End Point Assessment’, I was always given time to study for upcoming exams and all members of staff were encouraging whenever any conversations were had around the exams. There was a previous apprentice that had undertaken the EPA and he helped all the apprentices with preparing and organising for the end assessment. I am very thankful for everyone that helped me throughout the process and continue to this day. Without them I wouldn’t have the knowledge or skills required to further my development within British Sugar.

You did your apprenticeship through Cogent Skills. How did Cogent Skills and British Sugar support you through your apprenticeship?

Cogent have adapted throughout the whole apprenticeship. This round of apprentices were taken on around the time of COVID19 which meant we went from regularly sitting in a classroom face to face with our tutors/assessors to going fully virtual. This was a huge learning curve for both British Sugar and Cogent but both overcame this and in my opinion it works more seamlessly now than it ever did. The ability to pick up classes whilst still on factory grounds meant that I could still learn the competencies I needed for my job role, alongside the knowledge for college at the same time. British Sugar were also able to work our job roles around the cogent lessons and I was put onto shifts due to the pandemic. This was a benefit for me as it meant that I could learn from my crew and track my progress with them. It did mean working different shifts around lessons, but British Sugar were supportive throughout the changes.

What do you feel were the advantages of doing an apprenticeship over other education / training programmes?

Apprenticeships have come such a long way over the years and there’s a huge variety of schemes out there. There are also different levels, so if a degree or the higher levels of apprenticeships suit you then that’s an option too. When considering your options for higher education, financial security and the start of full-time employment, an apprenticeship is a great solution to each item of consideration.

Development

Learning the foundation of a role and working your way up means you can progress and develop yourself to reach your goals whilst being supported by your mentors/colleagues. There is always an opportunity to progress. At British Sugar we are encouraged in our 1-1 meetings to learn new areas, take ownership for a cell and develop ourselves as much as possible to support the business. There are even opportunities to be fire and rescue trained.

Start Sooner

You can apply for apprenticeships from 16, therefore ‘earning whilst you learn’. Instead of solely doing a course you can earn at the same time. It also gives you a chance to try something new and get straight into the job.

Funding

Apprenticeships are funded by employers; therefore, you’re gaining a paid qualification and earning whilst you learn. It is a great pathway to higher education and the opportunities gained through apprenticeships are endless.

How have you found balancing your lifestyle and social life while doing your apprenticeship?

Even though shift work is tiring and challenging at times, the time off you gain through working these hours means you can plan around them. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel after restrictions were lifted and my partner and I both work shifts so we have been able to benefit from working shifts together. Through the apprenticeship you must have a certain amount of ‘off-job’ hours, meaning the employers give you time to study/attend classes. British Sugar went above and beyond with allowing time for meeting deadlines and studying for exams, which meant I was always ready and prepared for any lessons.

Have you met any friends through your apprenticeship?

Some people have the saying of “I don’t come to work to make friends”. But through the apprenticeship it has been the exact opposite of this. I’ve met so many wonderful people and have so much respect for my colleagues. Especially the ones that have put time and effort into training me. I will hopefully pay this forward through supporting the new apprentices at the factory and look forward to passing on my knowledge. When you’re on a crew you see those people more than you would see people at home, because of the hours. If you get on together then it makes work so much more enjoyable.

How did the apprenticeship help you kick-start / progress your career?

I am now qualified and a full-time multi-skilled technician at British Sugar. This has enabled me to learn two areas of the process side of the factory and now I have the opportunity to learn an additional area which is really exciting. In previous job roles I found that once I had become qualified there was no progression and I would need to go to university to progress further, but with this apprenticeship the opportunities after the fact are incredible. Every day there’s something new to learn and so much happening in the background that no one is an expert in everything, which makes the job so great.

What has been your best achievement so far?

My greatest achievement throughout the apprenticeship is achieving a distinction in my End Point Assessment (EPA). I worked really hard for this and spent so many hours preparing, practicing and researching for the last exam. I normally get anxious with exams, but I felt ready when the day came.

What would you say are the most common misconceptions about an apprenticeship in process operations?

I never knew there were process apprenticeships available. I found out because I was already working at British Sugar and heard about it whilst I was in the laboratory as it was recommended to me that I’d be a good candidate.

The best piece of advice I could give is to give it a try! There are such a variety of courses to try and if you want to get a feel of what each one will be like then there are open days or career fairs to attend where you can meet past apprentices and get an idea of what the job role will entail. We all start somewhere and what better way than through a supported apprenticeship.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience so far? 

A lot of people don’t know what they want to do with their career and get discouraged when others have planned out their lives around university. 

The best piece of advice I could give is to give it a try! There are such a variety of courses to try and if you want to get a feel of what each one will be like then there are open days or career fairs to attend where you can meet past apprentices and get an idea of what the job role will entail. We all start somewhere and what better way than through a supported apprenticeship. 
 

prev

next

Join our network

Enter your email and we’ll keep you informed about upcoming opportunities.