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ARES student named Apprentice of the Year

Level 6 Food Industry apprentice wins the prestigious title at the annual Food and Drink Federation awards to celebrate his achievements in industry.

Richard Laursen FDF Apprentice of the Year
Richard Laursen accepting his award for Apprentice of the Year
Richard is a Level 6 Food Industry Technical Professional apprentice at NTU and Unilever.

Richard Laursen, an apprentice on the Level 6 Food Industry Technical Professional (FITP) Degree Apprenticeship, has won the esteemed title of Apprentice of the Year at the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) 2022 award ceremony, and is the first Nottingham Trent University (NTU) apprentice to do so.

The course, which is offered at NTU’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences (ARES), based at Brackenhurst Campus, offers students the opportunity to work and earn a salary alongside study; truly getting the industry experience they crave while also achieving a degree-level qualification.

Commenting on the course, Richard told us what he most enjoys about it: “I enjoy being able to take what I learn whether it’s about food processing techniques, legislation or food industry management, and seeing how it fits into my day-to-day job.”

Richard, who is completing his apprenticeship at Unilever, has been working on leading a project on industrial trans fatty acids (iTFA) reduction, to ensure that all Unilever products are compliant with the most recent EU regulations which came into effect in April 2021. Richard went above and beyond with this project and ensured that the products not only met the EU regulations, but also external commitments to the World Health Organisation.

Alongside seeking development opportunities, Richard has been passionate about helping others throughout his apprenticeship and is heralded by Unilever for his commitment to helping other apprentices settle in and by being a great ambassador for the apprenticeship programme.

FDF Award winners
The FDF 2022 Award winners

Encouraged by his line manager at Unilever, Richard entered himself in the 2021 FDF awards, where he was a runner up. He nominated himself again in 2022, with the updated projects he had been working on and this time was awarded the Apprentice of the Year award.

On his award win, Richard comments: “The real prize for me was recognition for the work I’ve done within the industry, but I got a nice trophy too.

“It was amazing to win the award, especially as it was the last award of the night and there were two winners because the judges couldn’t decide between myself and the other winner.

Level 6 FITP Degree Apprenticeship course leader, Jenny Slack, comments on Richard’s success: “Richard has shown great progress throughout his apprenticeship, and we have seen him grow and develop over the three years with us at Brackenhurst on the L6 FITP apprenticeship.

“He is very engaged and makes use of his knowledge, skills, and behaviours gained through attending University within his workplace in his R&D role at Unilever, Colworth.”

Continuing, Jenny comments on what it means for the University to have NTU apprentices win these awards: “Really prestigious. It identifies that our teaching is producing high calibre apprentices who can utilise the skills, knowledges, and behaviours required for the apprenticeship in their workplaces.”

Published on 27 January 2023
  • Subject area: Sciences including sport sciences
  • Category: Apprentices Case Studies; Current students; School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences