300 of them will be permanent jobs, while the other 20 are to be given over to apprentices learning their trade.
Expanding their operations
The purpose for the food recruitment drive is simple: to increase the production at the site by expanding their operations. These include the processing, cutting, and packing facilities which are used to create goods for retail customers.
There are a large number of production operative roles on offer, but there are also a smaller number in more specialised roles. These include the finance department, animal welfare, quality assurances, and engineering.
However, just under half of the roles are likely to have already been filled. The team will be taken from current agency positions, with 140 temporary employees brought in to permanent roles. Recruitment manager Chris Adamson has said that the rest of the food jobs will be targeted at residents of the local area.
This is not the first time the amount of employees at the factory has been increased. They have invested in their cutting and packing capacity as well as bringing in new equipment for thigh de-boning, which has increased the need for staff to man the operations. The current headcount of 1,200 has been boosted by 160 new staff members since January. With this additional boost, the total number of people working at the site will be more than 1,500.
An investment for the future
“We have always said we will invest at the right time in the right location when it benefits our business and our customers. So I am delighted that we are creating these new opportunities at Willand,” said Keith Packer, Managing Director of UK Poultry. “It is not about being bigger; it is actually about having a smaller, more focused footprint that has the capacity to carry out the whole operation. Willand and the greater Devon area is a perfect fit for us, because it gives us access to a strong growing base with excellent farms and a loyal workforce who deliver day in, day out.”
Adamson added, “As you’d expect, we are working closely with local job centres and we’re heavily on social media, but we also need to be creative in our talent pipeline searches. So this includes reaching out to back-to-work charities like Christians Against Poverty, PACE and army career centres. There are tremendous opportunities at a large employer like 2 Sisters and those with the right attitude and skillsets can build a great career here, as we’ve seen many times in the past.”
As for the apprenticeships, these will be in the butchery area. There’s another red meat site in the south-west which will share the apprentices, with 20 of them splitting their time between there and Devon. This is in addition to an already extensive apprenticeship program throughout the 2 Sisters group.
The business recently hit the headlines for scandalous reasons, after workers were found to be in contravention of hygiene laws, amongst other things. In order to set the matter right, 2 Sisters recently announced that they will be working more closely with the Food Standards Agency. This will allow them to share information more easily – and, presumably, will make it less possible for them to make such mistakes again in the future.
Whether they have managed to reform their ways or not, 2 Sisters remains a major employer in the UK food and drink industry.