Local MSP Alexander Stewart commended the opportunities for career progression at the leading Scotch whisky centre of excellence in Menstrie, during a site visit to mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
Mr Stewart visited Diageo’s state-of-the-art Brand Technical Centre, in the heart of his Mid Scotland and Fife constituency, on Monday (2 March) to hear first-hand about the apprenticeship opportunities available in STEM.
Meeting Technical Project Manager Jillian Fisher, who is now in full time employment having completed a Laboratory Technician Modern Apprenticeship, Mr Stewart learned more about how the team play a crucial role in fulfilling the global demand for Scotch whisky.
Commenting on his visit, Alexander Stewart MSP said: “Scottish Apprenticeship Week is a celebration of the positive impact apprenticeships can have on businesses, the economy and, of course, personal development so it’s great to see the ongoing work at Menstrie to nurture the next generation of talent.
“There is no limit to where a Modern Apprenticeship can take you and having this state-of-the-art global centre of excellence in Scotch whisky on our doorstep will continue to attract and retain talent and expertise in Clackmannanshire. Diageo has a long-held reputation for supporting apprenticeships of all kinds in its business, so I welcome this ongoing commitment here in Clackmannanshire and across all its sites in Scotland.”
Mr Stewart was given a guided tour of the Menstrie Lab, which is home to the whisky blending, science & technology and materials testing teams who work across Diageo’s leading global brands. Laboratory Technician Apprentices work alongside a skilled team of technical managers and scientists to blend and test recipes for Johnnie Walker – the world’s most popular Scotch – as well as Bell’s and J&B Scotch whiskies.
Apprentice Laboratory Technician Eve Murphy, who is currently working in the Whisky Lab at Menstrie during the 4th year of her Modern Apprenticeship, said: “My work is primarily based in the site’s laboratory where everything from raw ingredients to packaging is tested and monitored so it was great to get the opportunity to show Mr Stewart the skills that I’ve developed this far.
“As an apprentice, I’m constantly learning but having this hands-on practical experience in the workplace means I already know that I enjoy the job I’m training for. It’s also really inspirational to be working alongside people who have been through the same Modern Apprenticeship, as it shows that hard work pays off.”
The state-of-the-art global centre of excellence for Scotch whisky officially opened in October 2019, following a £6.4 million investment by Diageo. The laboratory builds on Diageo’s already extensive footprint in Clackmannanshire, which includes the company’s largest warehousing site (Blackgrange), cooperage (Cambus), coppersmiths (Abercrombie in Alloa) and global brand archive (Menstrie).
Matthew Crow, Beverage Excellence Manager at Diageo’s Brand Technical Centre, added: “It’s been a great opportunity to showcase the hard work of our apprentices, both past and present, to our local MSP, and celebrate their hard work and the commitment they have made to their future careers.
“Apprenticeships can offer so much and are a crucial way to support people of all ages into sustainable and rewarding careers. Entering the jobs market with the opportunity to learn and earn is a great opportunity and we want to support even more people into STEM Modern Apprenticeships to ensure we can upskill those who will continue to create and make whisky for the wor