Duns-based company wins award and praise for commitment to Modern Apprenticeships and training

Duns-based potato growers and packers Greenvale AP Ltd has been presented with the 2015 Eastern Borders Development Association (EBDA) Award.

Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 2:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2016, 3:04 pm
Mrs Jeanna Swan, Lord-Lieutenant of Berwickshire; Stephen Simm, Greenvale operations manager; Jill Jamieson, Greenvale HR manager, and Councillor Hazel Bettison, Mayor of Berwick

Chairing the ceremony in Berwick Town Hall on Monday (April 11), Councillor Donald Moffat, of Coldstream, referred to the achievements of the EBDA in the 1950s and 1960s in attracting new industries to the eastern borders and north Northumberland at a time when the area’s indigenous industries, farming and fishing, were suffering a decline.

In his citation for the award, Councillor Jim Fullarton, Scottish Borders Council member for East Berwickshire, referred to Greenvale’s arrival in the borders through its acquisition of the established Winfield-based potato growers and packers ES Black in 2000.

Black’s had built a new facility at Craigswalls near Chirnside and, from that base, Greenvale had developed as a progressive and innovative force within the agricultural sector in the eastern borders.

It was the company’s highly successful Modern Apprenticeships scheme that had particularly attracted the interest of the EBDA award trustees. Starting each July, the Greenvale Apprentice Scheme was especially designed to provide young school-leavers aged 16 to 18 with the skills and knowledge required to build a career in the company, by introducing them to hands-on experience throughout the workplace, including production and growing in the field, packing, quality control and distribution; and by helping them to gain industry-recognised qualifications through the SQA and Improve, the Food and Drinks Sector Council.

In addition to the workplace skills, the apprentices completed a week-long residential Outward Bound course in the Lake District to hone and develop their man-management and life skills.

In an area where, traditionally, fewer apprenticeship opportunities were available than in other parts of the country, the company had set the highest standards through the development of its apprenticeship scheme.

Accepting the award, Stephen Simm, the company’s operations manager, who attended with Jill Jamieson, HR manager, expressed Greenvale’s delight in receiving the award.

“What we do in the course of daily business we take for granted, but it is truly gratifying to have this recognised in the wider local community,” he said.

Mr Simm said that, in addition to their investment in modern technology and state-of-the art environmentally-friendly equipment and processes, the company took pride in its responsibilities as a major employer of more than 200 people in the eastern borders area.

Its Modern Apprenticeships, graduate schemes, management development programmes and team leader poaching programmes were examples of the personal and professional development ethos.

In a fiercely competitive industry, Greenvale continued to develop and adopt best practice in all areas of its business; and looked forward to a secure future in the eastern borders for many years to come.

Presenting the award on behalf of the EBDA trustees, Mrs Jeanna Swan, the Lord-Lieutenant for Berwickshire, said that it was a particular pleasure to her that her father-in-law, Sir William Swan, had been one of the founders of EBDA in the 1950s.

Councillor Donald Moffat thanked the award’s sponsors, Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council, who were represented by Councillor Alan Sambrook, deputy civic head of Northumberland County Council and Councillor Graham Garvie, convener of Scottish Borders Council.