OAL supports further education in the food industry

Wednesday 11th September 2019 saw The University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) graduation prize-giving event for the academic year 18/19. This year marked the first year a cohort of students received their full technical degree through an apprenticeship route.


Harry Norman, OAL, presenting Sheryl with her award for ‘Best Overall Performance on an Apprenticeship’.

Harry Norman, OAL, presenting Sheryl with her award for ‘Best Overall Performance on an Apprenticeship’.

For the second year running OAL sponsored the award for Best Overall Performance on an Apprenticeship. The award was won by Bakkavor’s Product Development Apprentice, Sheryl Gamble, and was presented by OAL Managing Director, Harry Norman. 

Sheryl graduated this year having completed her Level 6 Food Industry Technical Professional degree apprenticeship. The judges selected her for the prize due to her confidence, her ability to learn and her role as a great employer ambassador. Whilst working with Bakkavor, Sheryl has made a significant impact on the NPD department and has played a key role in boosting the wider collaboration with departments and customers. 

The NCFM leads the way in part-time study for food industry employees and we have a close relationship, where a number of our team are currently studying there. They’ve also been a partner in developing our latest innovations, including our robot chef and our state-of-the-art Steam Infusion test centre.


Sam Norman, OAL, speaking at the ceremony.

Sam Norman, OAL, speaking at the ceremony.

It’s an exciting time to work in the food industry with the developments in robotics and automation. Apprenticeships are a hugely valuable way to attract and develop the people who are the future of the industry. The degree apprenticeship route is a great partnership between an employee with the motivation to learn, a business willing to provide opportunities and an excellent learning provider like the University of Lincoln
— Sam Norman, our HR Director, was invited to speak at this year’s graduation.

At OAL, around 12% of our employees are currently studying across multiple disciplines, from engineering and food science to marketing and finance. Our continuous dedication to education and supporting our employees earned us the title of SME Apprentice Employer of the Year at the Peterborough Telegraph Apprenticeship Awards 2019 and we employee award-winning apprentices; personal and professional development is at the heart of the company.

If you want to become a part of our exciting journey as we shake up the food industry, take a look at our current vacancies! We’re always on the hunt for new talent to expand and grow our business.

Alicia Girardi