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Top award for food apprentice

PUBLISHED: 13:47 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 07 July 2010

A production operator who trains with Dereham-based Poultec Training beat tough competition to claim a top industry prize for her achievements as an apprentice.

A production operator who trains with Dereham-based Poultec Training beat tough competition to claim a top industry prize for her achievements as an apprentice.

Martyna Zelazek, who works at Marlow Foods in Methwold, Norfolk, won the Apprenticeships Award at this year's Food Manufacture Excellence Awards, sponsored by food and drink sector skills council Improve.

Since completing her apprenticeship in food manufacture, Martyna has been promoted to team leader and runs a production line of 28 people.

She is responsible for checking and maintaining machinery as well as managing production requirements at the factory which is owned by Premier Foods.

The 24-year-old, originally from Poland, said: “I was so excited to win the award. It was a great honour even to be selected. Since doing my apprenticeship, my confidence and skills level has grown. I can see a process through from beginning to end and feel confident with the work my team has produced. I am enjoying the responsibility and some of my team are following my lead and taking on an apprenticeship themselves.

“I can now communicate with people at different levels throughout the business as I feel more confident with my level of English.

“I really enjoyed doing my apprenticeship and it brought to my attention areas that sometimes get overlooked during my day-to-day job. Premier Foods has been very supportive."

Since her apprenticeship ended, Martyna has completed an Institute of Leadership and Management course and has progressed to Level 3 NVQ in food manufacture with Poultec Training.

Kevin Bowman, senior food manufacturing assessor at Poultec, said: “Martyna's achievement is made all the more impressive by the English skills she has developed while completing her apprenticeship.”

Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Improve, a member of the main judging panel, said: “The standard of entries was extremely high, but Martyna more than proved her many abilities, particularly as she had to improve her skills in English at the same time.”

For further information, go to www.improve-skills.co.uk

Pic caption: Martyna Zelazek

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