11 Apr 2022
by Meat Business Women

Meat our members: Katie Hibberd

Katie Hibberd, Divisional Technical Manager – Fresh Division, Cranswick Country Foods plc

Katie gives us a glimpse into her day to day as Divisional Technical Manager at Cranswick

Please tell us more about your day to day role.

I started my career on the technical graduate scheme at Tulip (now pilgrims). I applied after attending a graduate scheme presentation whilst in my final year of university as found it extremely insightful and interesting. Something that is worth mentioning, is I attended this presentation as a friend wanted to go; I had actually set my sights on pursuing a career within animal nutrition. Unfortunately (as I thought at the time) I was unsuccessful for the graduate scheme within animal nutrition, so accepted my second choice which was Tulip.

I honestly thought, I would join Tulip and reapply for my first choice the following year. A few months into my graduate scheme, I fell in love with the meat industry and have never looked back since. I actually don’t see myself working into another sector. After my graduate program, I then moved to another meat business as the sites QA Manager. Within a year of this role, my perfect role at Cranswick came up (Assistant Technical Manager).

At Cranswick, I have been fortunate enough have in depth development plans which has allowed me to move up the careers ladder over the last 7 ½ years. I am now Divisional Technical Manager for the fresh division overseeing 4 manufacturing sites and 2 cold stores. I actually don’t see myself ever leaving Cranswick unless something drastic changes in my personal life. One of the main reasons for this is due to the progression and development opportunities Cranswick has given me as well as the business being aligned to my personal values.

What do you enjoy most about your role and working in the meat industry?

I love the fast pace environment and challenges it always brings; no day is the same! I also really enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and developing people within my team.

Tell us a little about a project you’ve been involved with in your career that you feel proud of, or passionate about.

This feeds into the other element I enjoy most about my role, which is coaching and developing people. I am extremely passionate about where our businesses future talent lays as well as education of the younger generation helping to self-promote our industry.

One project I have been instrumental in the past few years is the development and success of the technical graduate scheme. At Cranswick we now have various technical graduates within the business, some are now in permanent roles. Each year we take on at least two candidates for each operating division (fresh and ready to eat). More recently, we have also introduced technical placement schemes and engaged with local schools offering work experience. Each year the program is reviewed based on feedback from current graduates as well as ensuring the scheme is fit for the future.

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