Photo Phil Wilkinson

The Glenmorangie Company believe that employees are the lifeblood of an organisation, and that investing in the workforce is the most important thing any business can do. It’s what led to Kerryanne Joyce, Bottling Training & Development Manager, being a driving force behind the creation of the Glenmorangie Apprenticeship Academy – a training programme which was launched in 2019.

The two-year programme teaches apprentices the skills to run a successful bottling process. It was introduced to help recruit a cohort of new talent and ensure that skills from Glenmorangie’s long-standing workforce are passed on to future generations.

The inaugural group of apprentices started in 2019, whose ages ranged from 18 to 28 years old. Their training began with a six-week intensive induction called ‘Cask to Glass’. This immersed them in the brand and helped to grow their understanding of how the whole process operates, from distilling to the supply chain.

On graduating from the programme, the team were engaged, enthusiastic and ready to build a career with the company. Long-standing colleagues were encouraged to share their knowledge with the apprentices, which brought a novel aspect to their job.

Now in its fourth year, 27 apprentices have come through the scheme, with 75% going on to secure full-time roles as associates.

It provides a combination of on-the-job and theoretical training and is supported by experts within the company. Additionally, all apprentices must undertake an SVQ in Spirits and Operations, and Institute of Brewing and Distilling certificate packaging qualification.

The training academy has attracted applicants from a variety of ages and backgrounds – including school and university leavers, and career switchers looking to forge a new path or break into the whisky industry. Those who have graduated and gone on to become associates support new apprentices who join the programme each year.

Across Scotland, people know that working in a distillery is a rewarding career. The fact is that all single malt whisky must be bottled in Scotland, so a big task for us has been trying to raise awareness of manufacturing, and the career opportunities that are available behind the scenes.

That’s why we get in front of young people early to champion this career path. We’re doing this in a number of ways, such as taking foundation apprentices from West Lothian College for work placements and mentoring three students through the national career mobility charity, Career Ready.

The programme shown that investing in people isn’t just rewarding, it’s necessary. It’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day of a job, but if you open your eyes, you realise how much you can learn and grow through interacting with other colleagues. That’s one of the key things to a thriving workforce.