News & Events

Thursday 21 March, 2019

Coca-Cola European Partners welcomes local MSP Graham Simpson to talk apprenticeships and building future talent


With Scottish Apprenticeship Week in full swing, Graham Simpson MSP visited the Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) factory in East Kilbride last Friday, to meet some of the site’s latest apprentice recruits.

Over the last couple of years, CCEP has accelerated its apprenticeship scheme – increasing the number of recruits across its GB operations by more than 50 per cent and investing over £1 million into the programme in 2017. Last year, CCEP welcomed 25 new apprentices to its sites and offices, including three at the East Kilbride factory: Jennifer Kolonko (electrical engineering apprentice); Jordan Briody (electrical engineering apprentice) and Scott Hanton (electrical engineering apprentice) – with a fourth apprentice, Andrew Clark, beginning his programme at college.

As well as meeting the three apprentices on site during his visit, Graham Simpson MSP was also able to hear from some of the business’ leadership team – including Site Director, John McCafferty and Early Careers Lead, Sharon Blyfield – about the importance of such programmes in breaking down barriers and inspiring the next generation of professionals. These conversations were built upon further during a special Q&A session with the apprentices and leadership team.

Simpson was then given a tour of the factory by the apprentices, who were able to share their experiences to date of working for one of the world’s most recognised brands and helping to bring some of the nation’s favourite drinks to restaurants, bars and stores around the country.

The business’ apprenticeship programme has been running in East Kilbride for over 27 years now, with 18 apprentices having joined the team to date. Recruitment for 2019 is currently underway, with around 40 roles available across the business’ apprenticeship programmes – of these, CCEP’s East Kilbride site has committed to offering two Modern Apprenticeships and three Foundation Apprenticeships this year.

A key part of this recruitment process will be ensuring that the programme is accessible to as many people as possible – working closely with different organisations to ensure the programme reaches people from a range of backgrounds, education and life experiences. Last year, CCEP also launched its apprentice recruitment campaign on Instagram for the first time, as an additional platform to reach and engage potential recruits.

John McCafferty, Site Director, Coca-Cola European Partners East Kilbride, said: “We’re very much a local business here in East Kilbride and it’s therefore of great importance to us that we contribute positively to the community – part of which is ensuring that we’re creating career opportunities for people from a diverse range of backgrounds, with different perspectives and ideas. This blend of ideas and skills is what makes us strong as a business, and it was great to welcome MSP Graham Simpson to the site and introduce him to the team. We’ve enjoyed watching the apprentices that have joined us over years flourish in their roles and become top professionals in their field. I’m looking forward to seeing our latest recruits do the same and make a genuine impact on site, and the industry as a whole.”

Sharon Blyfield, Early Careers Lead, Coca-Cola European Partners GB, said: “Apprenticeships form a crucial part of our careers strategy here at CCEP, and this will only become more prominent over the coming years. These opportunities offer routes into careers that may otherwise have been unattainable for some. This is something that’s echoed by many of the young people we speak to during our recruitment processes – some of whom either do not want to or are unable to enrol into university after they leave school and college. We want to give these people the opportunity to learn, develop and most importantly gain valuable experience in a job they love.

“We’re extremely proud of the accomplishments all of our apprentices have made over the years, and it was incredibly humbling to showcase the hard work, talent and passion of our newest East Kilbride apprentices to Graham Simpson MSP during his visit. What a great way to round off Scottish Apprenticeship Week.”

Graham Simpson MSP, said “I was delighted to meet with Coca-Cola European Partners’ apprentices and see first-hand their engagement with the business’ apprenticeship programme. The opportunity that Coca-Cola European Partners has provided the young people I met is invaluable. This start in the workplace will be of great benefit for their future careers. I was inspired by the engagement of the apprentices with their work and colleagues and my visit highlighted the importance of encouraging increased apprenticeships across Scotland.

“We need to make vocational training part of the mainstream delivery of the school curriculum. There is considerable evidence that softening the divide between academic and work-based learning is key to a well performing modern economy. It is therefore extremely important for our economy and our students that all local authorities offer this real-world work experience”.


For more information please contact:

Coca-Cola European Partners GB Press Office

01895 844 828 | 

About Coca-Cola European Partners:

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is the world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler. CCEP is the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) in Andorra, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

In Great Britain (GB) we employ some 3,800 people across England, Scotland and Wales at manufacturing sites, offices and depots. We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our products and operations, with a particular focus on sustainable packaging, water stewardship, and energy and climate protection.

We make sell and deliver the following products in GB for TCCC: Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Schweppes, Abbey Well, glacéau smartwater, Powerade, Oasis, Appletiser and 5 Alive. In GB we also make, sell or deliver Monster, Relentless and Capri-Sun.

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