‘It's very refreshing’ – supermarket degree apprentice tells of hope for career in ag

Written by
Lauren Dean

06 Mar 2019

06 Mar 2019 • by Lauren Dean

A three-year degree apprenticeship was a no-brainer for 20-year-old Sophie Tattersall, who is half-way through her scheme with Morrisons.

While studying for her A-Levels, Sophie decided not to go down the university route because of the associated debt, and instead came across the business and management (in company) chartered manager degree apprenticeship with Morrisons on a jobs site.

The application was relatively straightforward, with multiple-choice questionnaires, before a short telephone interview and assessment centre day.

After applying for the apprenticeship on the grounds it would be a new challenge but something she expected to ‘really find interesting’, Sophie says the 18 months on-the-job so far is helping her find an appreciation of how much goes into making the products consumers see on the shelves.

Speaking to Farmers Guardian from her base at Woodheads, Colne, Lancashire, she says: “I have found it really fascinating so far, especially coming from a place where I saw food as just food.

“As part of the apprenticeship we are based at a manufacturing site, but Morrisons moves us around to gain experience. It is really good because you get all those windows of opportunity.”

So far Sophie has completed a placement in pork packing, a stint with Morrisons Flowerworld over Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day periods last year, and placements both in-store and with the logistics team.

Study days are weaved in as a half-day every week, and apprentices attend six separate weeks a year at Bradford University.

“Working in the food sector caught my eye because the end-to-end process is so interesting; how we get from a live animal to a product that is sat on the shelf,” Sophie says.

“I have no farming background so everything has been seen through fresh eyes. It is very refreshing.

“I definitely still want to be working in Morrisons in 10 years’ time – I do not know exactly what role because I am still finding my feet but I know it would definitely be within manufacturing and the food aspect of it.”

Morrisons manufacturing and Market Street trading director Andrew Thornber said apprentices like Sophie were ‘the future of [our] businesses’.

He said: “At Morrisons we invest heavily in our young talent giving them early responsibility. In fact, many of our manufacturing site managers began their career in our graduate and school-leaver schemes, spending time in a variety of roles understanding the field to fork journey of our products.

“We have supported many young people to complete a degree with Bradford University while gaining invaluable experience on the job in one of our 18 manufacturing sites. These people are the future of our business.”