Apprenticeships at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing

Degree apprenticeships

The National Centre for Food Manufacturing is seen as a national exemplar for its innovative apprenticeship provision and commitment to partnering with employers to develop and deliver apprenticeships to meet their needs. The NCFM aims to provide the best experience for apprentices through flexible delivery and innovative teaching and learning. We have worked with employers and the Trailblazer Groups to be able to offer a comprehensive range of new standards including the sector’s first Higher Level and Degree Apprenticeships.

A professionally accredited short course offer, including British Retail Consortium (BRC) accredited programmes, provide employers and apprentices with added value. Support for Functional Skills enables apprentices to advance their maths and English and attain the Functional Skills required by the relevant apprenticeship standard where needed. Our blend of Further and Higher Education for the Food Industry provides employers with access to apprenticeships from Levels 2 to 6 and a ‘one-stop shop’ through which they can meet the skills development needs of their employees.

Our Apprenticeships

Whether you are an employer wanting to enhance the skills within your business, an existing food industry employee looking to progress your career, or an aspiring apprentice wanting to pursue a rewarding STEM career in this dynamic industry, there has never been a better opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship. The National Centre for Food Manufacturing can help with our comprehensive apprenticeships offer for key industry career paths:

  • Food Science and Technology
  • Food Operations and Manufacturing Management
  • Food Supply Chain and Operations Management
  • Agri-Produce and Supply Chain Management

View our Higher and Degree Apprenticeships

Work With Us

We have worked with employers in the food industry for many years to develop training and educational provision to meet their needs. Apprenticeships are our forte and there has never been a better time for employers to take advantage of apprenticeships to increase productivity and performance by attracting and developing the very best talent and enabling them to nurture the talent within their business at every level.

Whether you want to help your employees get a foot on the career development ladder or aiming to fill a high level skills gap by attracting high-caliber new recruits or training existing employees NCFM can help. 

With extensive experience of working with employers to deliver apprenticeship schemes, the NCFM team are well able to advise employers on the new standards and qualifications and assist in matching standards to job roles and planning apprenticeships schemes.

The NCFM is a trusted partner of 250 UK food businesses when it comes to meeting the skills development needs of their employees, and we deliver Apprenticeships with many leading food businesses. Our partners include Addo Food Group, Bakkavor, Bidfood, Dalehead Foods, Summers Butchery Services, Greencore Group, Tulip, Dovecote Park, Freshtime, Finlays, JDM Food Group, Kerry, Nestle, Worldwide Fruit, University Academy Holbeach, Produce World Group, J.O. Sims Ltd, Greenvale AP, FreshLinc, Ripe Now and Lincolshire Field Products.

We specialise in apprenticeships and have an offer of apprenticeships for the key food industry occupations from Levels 2 to 6 including Higher and Degree Apprenticeships.

As a national hub for food sector skills development, NCFM has specialist technical facilities including a state-of-the-art food factory with full-scale and pilot plant, food chemistry and microbiology laboratories, test kitchen and sensory suite and a technical library specific to the needs of food industry apprentices.

We are at the forefront of some of the most cutting-edge research for the sector and believe that apprenticeships and innovation go hand-in-hand. We encourage our apprentices to embrace innovation and bring new ideas and ways of thinking to their sponsoring business.

The part-time learner is our forte and we have the progress and welfare of our students at the heart of everything we do. Our excellent success rates and the fact that many of our former students hold senior roles in the industry is testimony to our commitment.

External quality markers confirm our commitment to delivering an outstanding experience of our apprentices - outcomes for our apprentices were deemed ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted metrics (2016/17). In the Food Science rankings, we are positioned 6th overall and 3rd for student satisfaction out of 39 institutions (The Complete University Guide, Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings for Food Science 2018).

  • The University was awarded gold in the Teaching Excellent Framework 2017.

  • In the Food Science rankings, we are positioned 6th overall and 3rd for student satisfaction out of 39 institutions (The Complete University Guide, Top UK University Subject Tables and Rankings for Food Science 2018).

  • Our FE provision was deemed ‘Good’ when it was last assessed by Ofsted in 2014 with apprenticeships noted as outstanding.

  • Outcomes for learners on our Apprenticeship provision reflect Ofsted Grade 1 with success rates at 92% against the national benchmark of 68% in 2016/17 (Reference: NCFM Self-Assessment for 2016/17).

  • We are an approved centre for several awarding bodies whose positive quality reports help to inform employer choice.

  • The NCFM is a National Skills Academy Food and Drink ‘industry approved provider’ which provides employers with confidence that they are selecting a quality provider.

  • We deliver personal tuition and support for Functional Skills where apprentices require maths and English to meet the requirements of their relevant apprenticeship standard.

  • Our service is comprehensive - as a team we the have food industry and skills development know-how to help employers choose the right apprenticeship, contextualise the offer to suit their business needs, support the planning of apprenticeship provision and go out of our way to help employers recruit to their vacancies.

We go out of our way to offer advice to employers on Apprenticeship recruitment and the help businesses to successfully recruit to vacancies. If you are looking for an apprentice, then get in touch and we can help with your vacancy requirements by offering advice and posting your vacancy on the Government’s website ‘Recruit an Apprentice’; The National Skills Academy for Food and Drink Tasty CareersUCAS Apprenticeship Jobs and other relevant websites.

We will also draw your vacancy to the attention of young people in the various schools with whom we routinely engage to raise awareness of career opportunities in the Food Industry. We are also happy to take some of the administrative burden off you and can help with shortlisting candidates, preparing and administering the relevant paperwork, and supporting the interview and selection process.

Once the successful apprentices has been selected, we help employers to choose the right training and delivery arrangements to suit both the employer and apprentice, and we will make induction arrangements with all parties to ensure the apprenticeship gets off to a flying start for all involved.

We are also happy to offer advice on funding and queries relating to the Apprenticeship levy. For an insight into the Apprenticeship levy, please follow these links:

CIPD Guide to the Levy

GOV.UK Employing an Apprentice

To talk to a member of the NCFM’s Apprenticeship Team please contact us on tel: +44 (0)1406 493000 or email:




Food Manufacturing Masthead

Higher Apprenticeships are one of the ways we can bring in and nurture talent in our business. Higher Apprentices play an important role in continually learning and applying new knowledge and skills across our essential business functions. Working within NCFM gives us total confidence that a quality learning experience can be achieved. Their level of expertise is well respected in our industry.

Nicky Taylor, Head of Learning and Development, Tulip Ltd

Contact Us


If you would like further advice and information on our Apprenticeships call 01406 493000 or email

National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach Campus, Park Road, Holbeach, Spalding, PE12 7PT