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In an ideal career, you never stop learning.

There will always be something new to discover, something new to try. You will remain curious – and motivated.

There is a good way to set that scene, both for young people and for companies.

It’s a way we’ve embraced for decades. That’s because we’re a skills-based operation. We’re a business that relies on agricultural and plant knowledge, food and drink science, mechanical and electrical engineering and process control, to name but a few. We’re a business that needs its long-serving team members to pass on their expertise; to educate; and to inspire the next generations.

We are, of course, talking apprenticeships.

We have colleagues who joined us as apprentices a long old time ago, and who are still here, making new discoveries; improving processes; or creating other change that makes a difference to our products, services or working lives.  And we have some relatively new apprentices.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week 2023, we had a chat with some of those apprentices – past and present – to get a feel for their experiences.

Ed Bristow

Edward Bristow a past engineering apprentice in the workshop at Crisp Malt.

We’re starting with Ed, who began his career at Crisp Malt as an engineering apprentice in 2010.

“I’ve always had a keen interest for solving problems and creating something,” says Ed. “As a child I was good at drawing. Growing up, I enjoyed working on push bikes, then that passion became more advanced when I was old enough to ride motorbikes. The skills I learnt from these activities were just the right fit for my engineering apprenticeship.

“I made the first step into my career here in 2010, after persuasion from my Dad, who saw first-hand my interest in machinery and learning.

“At the time, there were very few apprenticeships compared to today, but I was lucky enough to get onto the one here at Crisp.

“And now, 13 years later, I’m still progressing at the company. I am now the maintenance supervisor and am in charge of looking after a team of engineers; planning large maintenance works and shutdowns; working on safety improvements; and training team members.

“I really enjoy the people part of my job. Both past and present. I particularly want to give a shoutout to the team who helped me to learn and develop through my time as an apprentice. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

“It’s great see that the company has stood by its mission to pass on skills and learnings to the next generation by continuing to offer apprenticeships to people like myself.

“I’ve trained a few apprentices in my time, including Teegan, who’s a current multiskilled engineer. It’s a very fulfilling part of what I do.

“Because of my positive experience here starting as an apprentice and then going on to train apprentices, I would encourage anyone who is contemplating going into one to do it.”


Teegan Brabant

Teegan Brabant, a current engineering apprentice at Crisp Malt in his work overalls.

Those who have followed in Ed’s footsteps include Teegan, who is currently undertaking an engineering apprenticeship.

“I always enjoyed physical activities and before discovering this apprenticeship, I had no idea my options could be so open.

“It was my friends and family who opened my eyes to the idea of an apprenticeship. I saw that Crisp Malt was offering one which had a combination of physical work and was conveniently local to me. So, I went for it.

“The apprenticeship so far has been very varied, and I’m forever learning. It’s coming up to 3 years since I started here, and so far, I haven’t once come to a halt as there’s always something to be doing.

“What’s really surprised me is the amount of work that goes into making malt for beer and whisky, as well as the size of the machinery needed to do that.

“My work is very physical, and there’s quite a few jobs which you can really get stuck into and can literally get messy with. I really enjoy the people part of it – they have brought me out of my shell. I have improved my social skills and attention to detail on jobs and tasks as a result.

“Outside of work, my college course is challenging and perhaps the most difficult aspect to this apprenticeship. The qualification I hope to gain by the end of this is a Level 3 Diploma in multiskilled engineering.

“Though college work is challenging, Ed has been a real support because he’s been in the same boat as me. It makes it more motivating to have someone who gets it because they have taken the route before.

“I would say to anyone considering an apprenticeship to choose wisely.”


Teegan Brabant, a current engineering apprentice at Crisp Malt, in the workshop.

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