Knowing PepsiCo’s products was one of the main reasons apprentice Alan Boyle wanted to work at the Walkers factory in Leicester.

As well as being familiar with Walkers, Alan hoped that a business such as PepsiCo would provide lots of opportunities for further career progression.

“Company recognition was a big part of it for me and Walkers was a brand I was familiar with. I thought PepsiCo was somewhere that would have a lot of potential as a place to work and that it would invest in its people. It was appealing for my long-term career potential.”

Before Alan started in October 2017, he’d never thought about enrolling on an apprenticeship.

He was surprised to find that the PepsiCo General Operative Apprenticeship offers strong financial incentives for people who are used to earning a wage, as well as providing a career path:

The scheme paid a lot more than I would have expected for an apprenticeship. It was more than I earned in my previous job. So that was a strong incentive, to ensure I could still earn a proper living while gaining wider qualifications.”

Packing in new experiences

Alan currently works as part of the team which maintain the machines that package Walkers crisps into multipacks.

He says the combination of classroom-based learning and training on the job in the apprenticeship has helped him to gain broader skills that will help him on his career path:

“We’ve learnt the specifics of how to do the job itself, repair the machines and get them working properly. In the classroom we’ve learnt so much about the food industry and also skills around communication and team work which are really important on the factory floor.”

Taking the initiative

Alan wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the apprenticeship to others. He believes that the scheme works best for those who want to learn:

“I would say to anybody: go for it. It’s great if you like being proactive and taking the initiative to find out about things. You do have to keep up with the academic work, but there’s a really good support network there to help you.”

He says he’s surprised himself – in the best possible way:

“If you’d have asked me last year whether I’d be on an apprenticeship I’d have said no. I always thought that apprenticeships were for teenagers, but there are people in their ‘50s and ‘60s on my course. I didn’t expect to be an apprentice but now I am, I really enjoy it.”