Position, production, progression and promotion.
Four words that describe the opportunities available at Bakkavor Freshcook and Pizza, Holbeach St Marks, which are together looking to boost their 1,450 workforce with more than 120 new recruits.
The suppliers of freshly made, ready meals, pastries and pizzas to such established high street names as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons is responding to growing demand by giving people the opportunity to become part of the Bakkavor success story.
Will Naylor, business HR (human resources) manager at Bakkavor Freshcook, said: “Bakkavor is an employer with many other benefits than just an hourly rate of pay.
“We have a lot of vacancies across both of our Freshcook and Pizza sites and what we want to do is to get more people on board in order to grow both arms of the business.
“A typical route in for a new employee is as a factory operative before moving to key operative, line manager, section manager, senior section manager and factory manager roles.
“There are opportunities for people to grow in their skills and experience in order to get those jobs they aspire to – if they demonstrate the right values and commitment.”
Freshcook, which opened in 2004, employs just over 600 people who help produce 84 individual ready meal and pastry products exclusively for Marks and Spencer, including Spanish, low calorie and gastro pub ranges.”
Zaneta Kisazek (28), who joined Freshcook seven years ago and has gone from machine operative to section manager roles, said: “I like Freshcook as a business because it’s helped me to improve myself and go on a higher route.
“Within half a year I was promoted to a section leader role where I worked for five years.
I like Freshcook as a business because it’s helped me to improve myself and go on a higher routeZaneta Kisazek (28), section leader, Bakkavor Freshcook
“I then went on maternity leave but before that, I was a step-up (acting) section leader and because the business was so appreciative of my work, I got an opportunity to become a section manager within two months of coming back to work.
“It was a really lovely surprise and now I’m managing 45 people in my team, helping them to supply the topping lines with ingredients and putting them all together so that another team can make the products.”
Darek Brylinski (32) has worked for Freshcook for just over three years and is now a senior section manager responsible for overseeing an entire shift.
“Within six months of joining Freshcook, I was given the opportunity to run assembly lines and after another 18 months I was promoted to senior section manager.
“Bakkavor also sponsored me to do a foundation degree in food management at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach.”
In contrast to the “supplier of choice” arrangement between Freshcook and Marks and Spencer, Bakkavor Pizza produces chilled, ready to cook and snack pizzas for multiple retailers and fast food chain Pizza Express.
Rachel Ogunlaja, business HR (human resources manager) for Bakkavor Pizza, said: “Since opening in 2003, the site has become a centre of pizza excellence and has three bakery lines employing 846 people.
“We have preparation, assembly and packing sections where people work who have been recruited in line with our business values.”
Piotr Frankowski (35), a section leader who has worked at Bakkavor Pizza for nearly three years, said: “I started as a factory operative then because I had knowledge of fork lift truck driving, I was moved to that role.
“After working in mixing operations and as a team leader, I was promoted to section leader.
“I didn’t expect to go up the ladder that quickly but I’m open to any challenges and open-minded to any innovations we make here.”
Both sites are also keen to develop their roles within the community, including the use of a building run by Holbeach St Marks Community Association which contains a gym, IT equipment and offices used by organisatiions such as South Holland arts group Transported.
Bakkavor Freshcook and Pizza are also active in supporting charities such as Children in Need, Macmillan Cancer Support and Spurgeons Young Carers.
Rachel said: ”When people come to work for us, they’ll not only have the opportunity to further their careers but also to make a difference in the community.”
Together, Bakkavor Freshcook and Pizza have more than 120 vacancies for both skilled and semi-skilled roles to meet growing demand at both sites.
Line operatives, machine operators, quality control and mixers are just some of the roles available, along with line management positions.
Will Naylor said: “Now is a really exciting time for Bakkavor’s Holbeach St Marks businesses as we continue to grow from strength to strength.
“This is demonstrated by the scale of our recruitment drive and the diverse range of roles we have available, providing people with a great opportunity to work in the fast-moving and exciting industry of freshly prepared foods.
“There is very strong evidence that our employees stay with us on a long-term basis and we celebrate the highly-diverse workforce we have by offering people great opportunities for development within our sites and the wider Bakkavor Group.”