Greencore has 16 manufacturing sites and 18 distribution depots across the UK. Greencore’s Northampton site has a sole supply contract for the production of food to go items with Marks & Spencer’s, and this partnership has enabled M&S to collaborate with Costa Coffee by suppling their Food on the Move products to the coffee chain. Greencore’s ambitious growth plans have generated a significant increase in demand and has therefore required a large recruitment campaign to bring new colleagues on board.

Recruiting colleagues at the site has never been tougher and whilst focusing on major growth opportunities, Greencore contacted the LEP to discuss their skills, employment and expansion requirements. SEMLEP’s Business Development Manager, Richard Cook worked through several options for the business.

One key action was to connect Greencore to Moulton College and their on-site Food and Drink Innovation Centre. This connection linked students to immediate local job opportunities, further development and work experience options.

It also opened the potential for the college to work directly with the business to expand employment-determined skills courses, specifically apprenticeship programmes following the favourable Ofsted rating. The college has capacity for growth in student numbers and Greencore has offered the use of their production equipment and kitchens to the college so that students can learn within the live working environment.

The Covid pandemic and the resulting short-term changes in consumer patterns, alongside the impact of trade relations and the wider economic environment, uncovered multiple challenges and opportunities in the food and drink sector.

The LEP team introduced Greencore into the network of local regulatory, political and trade business contacts, including sector-specific business support providers as well as local labour market information. This engagement enabled Greencore to build more local community and business links, helping the business to continue operations effectively. It also quickened the flow of business information through to national and local decision makers, including central government departments acting to support local economic stabilisation and return to growth.

Greencore spokesperson, Tim Jackson, Site Director at Northampton says:

We have been a major employer in Northampton for many years, and we are delighted that our business continues to go from strength to strength. As part of our growth plan, we continue to recruit people to our team, and we are grateful for the support that we have received from Richard and the wider team at SEMLEP in helping us find great people to join us.