Crisp Malting apprentices

Dennis King (left) and Edward Bristow, who have each benefited from apprenticeship schemes


Crisp Malting Group, based in Great Ryburgh, Norfolk, is among local employers celebrating current and past success during National Apprentice Week.

Over a period of time, Crisp has taken on a number of apprentices and trainees, some now filling vital, full-time, permanent roles in the business.

These include group engineer manager David Spiers, who started his career as an apprentice at another company before moving his way up at Crisp. Now he is responsible for the engineering team at the Great Ryburgh site and across four other sites in Suffolk, Essex and Scotland.

He said: “Malt is cereal grain, usually barley, that has been steeped, germinated and kilned. Engineers at Crisp play a key role in the production of the thousands of tonnes of quality malt which go out of our gates each year.

“Brewers and distillers who buy our malt rely just as much on the engineers as they do on people from the malting, quality, sales and delivery teams. We all work together to provide perfect quality product on time and to specification.

“People wanting to become engineering apprentices need to understand the importance of the role, be eager to learn, and be highly practical.”

He added: “It’s a big investment by employers to take on apprentices as it can take years to train them. But it often pays off. As in the case of Dennis King, who started at the company as an apprentice 43 years ago and is still here now!

“He and Edward Bristow are both shining examples of apprentices, though their apprenticeships took place nearly 40 years apart”

Dennis King, maintenance manager

Dennis joined Crisp as an apprentice in 1974 at the age of 15. He has helped ensure Crisp’s success by rising in the company, getting more involved, and even helping to design some of Crisp’s newer facilities.

Working four days at Crisp and one day a week at college for five years during his apprenticeship, Dennis built up a strong skill set of mechanical knowledge and practical capability.

He said: “For an engineering role, you need to be hands on, inquisitive and practical. We work across the whole plant, so there’s a lot of different machines to get familiar with – and we need to be able to solve any problems as fast as possible.”

In 1998 he became maintenance manager for Crisp, a position he has held ever since. “I enjoy the job and the variation of work that comes with it. I’ve already done 43 years at the company and have no plans to stop!”

Edward Bristow, multi-skilled fitter

Edward finished his apprenticeship in June 2014 and is now a multi-skilled fitter, meaning he helps keep all the machines on site up and running.

He said: “The best part about my apprenticeship was learning on the job. If you’re mechanically-focused, it’s great to be working in an engineering environment where you can watch experienced people, learn, then have a go yourself – with someone there to give advice when you need it.

“If you can turn your hand to the diagnostics and repair work in this sort of environment, you can turn it to solving things in the home. You develop useful skills for fixing domestic appliances, cars, motorbikes, anything mechanical. And the more you do, the better you get.”

Through his dedication and hard work, Edward was offered a full-time role, specially created for him by Crisp.

David Spiers said: “A great apprentice is always self-driven and Edward worked exceptionally hard during his apprenticeship. We were delighted to offer him the full-time role and have him on board.”

Edward added: “I’m very proud of where I am now and wouldn’t have been able to do it without the apprenticeship. I work with a great team of people, and we all pull together to get the jobs done.”