Sweet succession: Nestlé engineer follows on in her grandfather’s footsteps

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé female engineer chocolate crumb manufacturing

Related tags Manufacturing Milk Nestlé

Lucy McGeorge is following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Ronald (Ronnie) McCrindle as an engineering apprentice in electrical, maintenance and repair at Nestlé, Girvan in Scotland, a chocolate crumb manufacturing facility which goes into brands including Kitkat, Breakaway biscuits and Aero.

The manufacturing milk crumb is a mixture of fresh milk, sugar and cocoa and McCrindle, who passed away in 2003, was one of the first engineers at the site and started working there when the factory had its trial run in 1979.

National Certificate in Electrical Engineering

Ronald McCrindle

McGeorge’s uncle, Alan McCrindle, also works at the plant and is a shift operator on the factory floor as part of a five man autonomous working group. He works the machines in the production areas such as Milk Reception and the Bagging plant.

I come from a family of engineers. My grandfather was the first one at Nestlé Girvan and helped to build and wire the factory. He worked there for over 25 years​,” she said.

The 18-year-old joined Nestlé in September 2014 and works alongside senior engineers and shadows line technicians to learn more about the factory, its equipment and machinery. She has completed her Performing Engineering Operations Level 2 qualification and is now working towards her National Certificate in Electrical Engineering.

I’m at college every Monday and I work at the factory for the rest of the week allowing me to put my theory into practice​,” she said.

I like the opportunity to learn from a variety of different senior engineers, who all do things slightly differently. It gives me an insight into how the operators make things happen and what machine does what and why. Also, if something goes wrong and you know how the operators work it, it can make fixing the machine a lot easier​.

The hardest thing is to learn about the many pieces of machinery and equipment in the factory. But this makes my job equally exciting, because many people don’t know this but we’re actually a highly automotive industry and are able to use these machines to manufacture the milk crumb that’s a vital ingredient for chocolate. My favourite product is Nestlé KitKat​.”

Female STEM Ambassadors

As part of the UK Government’s ‘Your Life’ Campaign Nestlé continues to look at ways to leverage its female STEM Ambassadors to encourage more women into STEM careers, focusing on its young apprentices, graduates and senior leaders within the organisation.

Lucy McGeorge - Nestlé Engineering Apprentice
Nestle engineering apprentice Lucy McGeorge

The company has committed to employing 50 apprentices each year across its business in 2014, 2015 and 2016 across the UK.  The apprenticeship programme is part of Nestlé’s Youth Employment Initiative to offer 1,900 job opportunities over three years.

Nestlé will continue to deliver the message that there are a wide range of exciting job roles for young people who pursue STEM subjects at school. The UK food and drink industry needs to attract talented young people who want to shape and create some of the country’s iconic food and drink brands in the future​,” a spokesman said.

A typical day for McGeorge is attending the morning Daily Overview Report meeting then getting involved in a variety of tasks on the factory floor, such as essential maintenance on site including machine breakdowns.

In the afternoon, she carries out boiler water tests and tool box inspections where she notes down which tool box is safe, secure and complete.

My advice to anyone thinking of a career in the food and drink industry is to go for it. It’s important to choose a job you enjoy and are interested in. It’s a fast paced industry and there is a lot to learn in the food manufacturing environment,​” she added.

The next big event for Nestlé Girvan is the annual Windemere Row, where eight people take on the challenge of rowing 10 miles across Lake Windemere for Grocery Aid Charity (a national charity for people who are working, or have worked in the grocery industry).

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