Soft drinks firm Norbev has ‘Imagination with Bottle’

RIGHT: CAFRE’s Higher Level Apprenticeship students, Ellen Harkness and Matthew Bowers from Norbev in Ballymena, start another working day.

By Zita McNaugher,

Food Technologist, Loughry Campus, CAFRE

THE College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Loughry campus, provides commercial in-confidence technical support and bespoke training to companies of all sizes and to across all sectors of the food industry.

“Imagination with Bottle” is the slogan of the Ballymena-based soft drinks manufacturing company Norbev.

This slogan emphasises the innovative focus of the family-run local business and is achieved by developing a team of creative and skilled staff.

Participating in the staff training and learning is pivotal to ensure that staff are being developed whilst they work within Norbev.

Ellen Harkness and Matthew Bowers from Norbev have recently enrolled onto the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Manufacture at CAFRE.

This allows them to study for a Foundation Degree whilst working full-time, preparing them to progress into management and supervisory roles within the sector.

The Higher Level Apprenticeship course has been acknowledged by both students and food and drink companies within Northern Ireland as being a useful mechanism to educate and motivate personnel.

The long-term relationship between CAFRE and Norbev extends beyond the educational programmes to include the Knowledge Advisory Services through the delivery of online technical training.

Participation in the Root Cause Analysis course allowed Norbev staff to upskill their technical teams in terms of competent identification of problems and so improve process efficiencies.

The Knowledge Advisory Service at CAFRE not only offers training but help and support to the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks industry.

The advisors can help businesses with product labelling, new recipe formulation, shelf life analysis and advice on quality systems, to list but a few.

n Further information on educational programmes offered at CAFRE, can be found at

n If you are interested in finding out more information about the provision offered by CAFRE’s Knowledge Advisory Support at Loughry please do not hesitate to contact Zita at


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