Vitacress is excited to announce the introduction of a new training scheme offering an accountancy tuition programme at the highest level, similar to those usually offered by the professional services and accounting firms.

Partnering with Babington and Grant Thornton, this scheme will go above and beyond the traditional accountancy training as it aims to combine leadership, problem solving and critical thinking with technical skills. It will make use of the Government’s apprenticeship levy fund and offer each apprentice a buddying system with a tailored plan for personal growth as well as professional development.

“At Vitacress we want to offer an apprenticeship that will benefit students by providing a well-rounded programme that prepares them for an exciting future in finance at Vitacress. This is a great example of our values in action and reflects how important it is to invest in our people.”

Ashley Cooper, Vitacress’ Group Finance Director

Both experts in their field, Babington is one of the UK’s leading learning & development organisations supporting over 7,000 learners, whilst Grant Thornton is one of the world’s largest organisations in Tax, Audit and Advisory.

Tim Sutcliffe, Head of New Client Relationships at Babington, comments: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Vitacress as they invest in the development and upskill of their finance team, through the launch of an accountancy apprenticeship programme. We look forward to working closely with Vitacress and our partners Grant Thornton to develop future finance leaders together.”

Jim Rodgers, Partner at Grant Thornton, says: “Attracting and retaining talent is key to building a world class finance team. Grant Thornton is delighted to be supporting Vitacress leverage the Apprenticeship Levy to invest in its development of a pipeline of finance leaders.”

The scheme offers support from practitioners, along with access to online resources such as webinars and seminars, and supports on-the-job training that will help accelerate the completion of training. The scheme will offer improved career development and a choice of qualification pathways – ACCA, ATT or CIMA.

At Vitacress, we want people to feel they can develop their careers with us. We want to provide a supportive environment where they can flourish. Nurturing future talent is an important part of this, whether embarking on a first job or a new career path like our apprentice, Matt Edghill.

Matt has been working for Vitacress Herbs for four years and following the successful completion of his apprenticeship, he is the first ever engineering apprentice to move into a permanent role. As a newly qualified engineer ready to kick-off his career with us.

Below, Matt tells us a little about his experiences at Vitacress.

What made you want to work at Vitacress?

There is a large variety of equipment to work on, which presents the opportunity to develop a broad knowledge of both mechanical and electrical engineering.

Vitacress is a really welcoming work environment and my team is amazing. My manager, Steve, was very enthusiastic about continuing my education past level three, following the apprenticeship, and provided me with excellent progression opportunities.

How did you hear about the apprenticeship?

I was working as a carpenter/builder but was seeking an engineering apprenticeship and was recommended to Vitacress through my training provider, PETA.

Tell us a bit about the last four years…

My first six months were spent off site at a training facility where I learned the basics of engineering – this included machining, hand fitting and mechanical & electrical maintenance.

Following that, I attended college one day a week whilst working on my Level 3 BTEC in electrical engineering. Initially, whilst at work, I spent my time shadowing the other engineers, learning their process for fault diagnosis, job planning etc. and developing my practical knowledge and skills.

How has that changed over the years? What have you learnt along the way?

Over time, I was given more autonomy and responsibility, taking the lead on jobs and tasks to complete by myself. Starting with small jobs, such as installing light fittings or repairing minor breakdowns, this developed to much larger scale projects, such as upgrading the controls and safety features on machinery, including planning, scheduling, compiling a bill of materials, etc.

This progression allowed me to develop my knowledge and skills, not only in terms of engineering but also project management.

What do you think about the working environment and the people – have they been supportive?

The people on site are brilliant; very friendly, helpful and we always have a laugh. This cultivates a welcoming and relaxed work environment. The engineering team has always gone above and beyond to support me and the other apprentices, providing us with any help we require.

How do you think it has helped you in your career?

Working on such a broad range of equipment has given me a strong foundation and understanding of both mechanical and electrical engineering across a diverse range of applications. Additionally, I am now attending college working towards my Level 4 HNC in electrical engineering and am hoping to progress onto the Level 5, which will broaden my prospects in the future.

Share a stand out moment with us…

When I built my first control panel, I realised just how far my understanding of circuits had developed. Other stand-outs are getting absolutely filthy by cleaning filters on my first day and one of the engineer’s trousers falling down in the middle of the greenhouse!

For more information on our apprenticeships, get in contact.

Vitacress Salads has been celebrating the work anniversaries of six of its UK Farming Team, totalling an impressive 170 years between them.

Having joined the business on Valentine’s Day in 1972, Andy Roberts – Watercress Planning & Quality Manager, has worked for Vitacress for a staggering 50 years with five of his colleagues also reaching between 20 and 30 years’ service each. “From day one, I felt part of the team”, says Andy. “I was told that the watercress business was going to undergo some radical changes in the coming years… a world of opportunity would be opening up. It was because of this vision that I stayed.” Throughout the years, Andy experienced many changes; from mechanisation with use of the first harvester, to learning about growing quality crops and being the first to add salad to a bag “We were taught to never forget that we were providing food for people to eat and if we wouldn’t eat it, then don’t cut it. But it was incredible, you simply didn’t buy any salads in a bag in those days – it was revolutionary.”

The team, who work at farms across Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire, was recognised for dedication to both the company and to growing quality produce, including watercress – which from its Latin name, directly translates to ‘nose-twister’ due to its peppery taste.

“We want to thank the team for their hard work and loyalty to Vitacress over the years.  They are experts in their field and have used this knowledge to enable Vitacress to grow great-tasting, healthy produce in an environment which is enhancing nature” said Kees Van-Poortvliet, Growing & Procurement Director.

The celebration was held at a local haunt in the village of St Mary Bourne where the farm managers were given personal gifts up to the value of £500 such as golf clubs, a laptop and even a snowboard!