Apprenticeship FAQs

Apprenticeships have been around for a long time, so many of the questions you might be thinking of right now have probably be answered before!

We’ve pulled together a list of commonly asked questions that we hope will be helpful and provide the answers you're looking for.

1. Are apprenticeships only for college students?

In short, no! Whilst the perception might be that they are a post-GCSE option, we have current employees who are studying an apprenticeship to upskill as part of their Continual Professional Development (CPD), whilst career changers also join us on apprenticeship to acquire new skills whilst continuing to work.

2. Can I join you if I started an apprenticeship elsewhere?

Yes. You can pick up where you left off and our team will support you with this process.

3. What is meant by 'food processing'?

Food processing is the transformation of ingredients into products such as bread, confectionery biscuits or breakfast cereals. This can involve many different operations including mixing, forming (moulding, shaping or cutting), cooking, baking, drying and cooling.

For example, the process for making biscuits is to mix a dough, mould it into individual pieces, bake and then cool them.

At Baker Perkins we don’t make the food, we make the machines that make the food and it is our combination of process knowledge and engineering skills that ensures they produce exactly the product our customers, the manufacturer, is looking for.

By understanding the process, we are able to design and build machines that not only make products of the right quality, but can do so at very high speed and completely automatically.

This requires a range of engineering skills including Mechanical, Electrical and Software to design and make the equipment at our HQ in Peterborough and then install and commission in our customers’ factories all over the world.

4. I like STEM subjects, but I am not sure about engineering as a career

Engineering is sometimes seen as very different to STEM subjects, but at Baker Perkins our engineers all use STEM subject skill sets. For example, Design Engineers have to consider the food science of how ingredients will interact with the machinery to ensure it makes the right end product, consider the technology required to manufacture the parts, use maths to do calculations on pressures and stress calculations and use Computer Aided Design to design 3D models.

If you enjoy STEM subjects then you will likely enjoy a career at Baker Perkins!

5. What are the different engineering specialisms?

The Level 3 apprenticeships we offer each year are in Machining, Fabrication or Fitting (Assembly) in our factory. Apprentices make components and assemble them into machines in our factory by reading engineering drawings. This is skilled work, taking a four-year apprenticeship to learn. People who do best at these apprenticeships enjoy practical work and have a passion for making things.

We sometimes offer other subjects, which in the past have included IT and Design, so please look out for announcements of the disciplines that are on offer each year.

Many of our apprentices start with a Level 3 apprenticeship in the factory to gain a fundamental knowledge of manufacturing and then progress into other engineering disciplines or positions within the company, often building on their apprenticeships and taking higher level qualifications. For example, many former apprentices have gone on to be Design Engineers, Project Managers, Sales Managers, Service Engineers, Installation and Commissioning Engineers. If they have that broad knowledge of how to manufacture and understand our products, then they have a great grounding for being able to design, sell or project manage them through the business.

6. How often do you go to college?

This will vary depending on the apprenticeship, but usually you’ll start with more time in the first few years at the training provider and this reduces as the apprenticeship progresses.

An important part of the apprenticeship is applying what you’ve learnt at the training provider in the workplace so there are plenty of opportunities to do real work at Baker Perkins as well.

7. Will I still have contact with my college tutor?

Throughout your apprenticeship they’ll work in conjunction with Baker Perkins to ensure you gain your apprenticeship. College tutors come into Baker Perkins to speak with yourself and your Line Manager to ensure your college work and work here all links. You’ll also have regular checks with tutors during college hours.

8. What level of qualification will I get?

Our apprenticeships tend to start with gaining a Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship, but then there are opportunities to progress within the business. We have people on Level 6 apprenticeships (Degree) and Post-Graduate level in the business at the moment.

9. Will I be able to balance practical learning with my studies?

The great thing about apprenticeships is you earn whilst you learn. You get 20% ‘off the job training’ time guaranteed (at your training provider or being shown new skills at work), but you’ll have much more. You’ll also get lots of hands-on experience throughout your apprenticeship.

You will need to do some work at home as well, for example writing up reports, as you won’t have time to do all your college work in college/work time. You’ll need to be self-motivated to get this done and we find doing a little work each week on write-ups and other college assignments helps to keep on top of the workload. There’s also support from our Apprenticeship Co-ordinator and the training provider.

10. What happens when I finish and achieve my qualification?

When you finish your qualifications and your apprenticeship agreement comes to an end, the desired outcome is that as well as having a nationally recognised qualification, we offer you a role within the company.

11. Will I only work and learn within one team?

Whilst most of your time will be spent within your team, cross-department working exists and helps add depth to your learning and understanding.

As part of your learning curve, you’ll have access to cutting edge technology; thanks to our ongoing investment, students have access to some of the latest equipment and systems. Whilst supervised, you’ll get to use the same equipment as our Senior Engineers.

12. What will I earn?

To start with, you'll earn at least National Minimum Wage based on your age. But, pay increases each year as you successfully progress through your apprenticeship.

13. Who are your current training partners?

We work with several partners, but during your Level 3, you'll attend one of the following:

  • Peterborough College
  • College of West Anglia

14. What time will I start and finish?

You'll work between 7.30am-4pm, Monday-Thursday and 7.30am-12.30pm on Friday. Our advice would be to check how long it will take you to get to work and college to avoid being late, and know alternative routes, just in case.

15. Where do we go in our breaks and at mealtimes?

We have a serviced canteen that serves breakfast and lunch. It's open between 9am-1pm and you can also purchase snacks and soft drinks from there. There are also vending machines around the building which you can use at break times.

About Us

Many of the world's leading brands rely on technology supplied by Baker Perkins. Read our story, from the 19th century to today.

About apprenticeships

Apprenticeship schemes have run at Baker Perkins since the early 1900s. Discover more on our current programme here

Apprenticeship FAQs

Thinking about an apprenticeship but have questions that need answering? Well look no further...