Recruitment starts for 32 new roles

A family dairy in Shaftesbury which has been selling cream and cheese since the 1930s is starting the search for candidates for more than 32 high-skilled jobs as part of its £2million expansion.

As reported in the NBV previously, BV Dairies has secured £750,000 in funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) which will create a major new facility at its Wincombe Lane site with work expected to start this month.

Managing director Jim Highnam said: “We need a wide range of skills across the varied functions and want to recruit people with the potential to learn, develop and ultimately progress within the business. There have been challenges for everyone during 2020, but we hope that we will be able to support the local community by offering longer- term skilled jobs. The apprenticeship scheme has been a great success for us – we have recruited some top notch people into these roles and it’s been great to see them flourish.”

BV Dairy was founded in 1958 by father-and-son team Jack and Christopher Highnam but the Highnam family had been producing and selling farmhouse cream and cheese for many decades prior to this at the family’s Old Rectory Farm in Kington Magna. It now employs 130 people.

Mr Highnam said: “BV Dairy’s highly skilled people take pride in making top quality specialist dairy products for our customers, using top quality, local raw materials in a beautiful part of the world.”

“We’re a manufacturing company, so most people are employed in the production and logistics areas, closely assisted by the engineering and technical teams. The other functions that make the business work are finance, HR, sales, customer service and IT/planning. The ever-increasing demands from customers for better quality at lower prices mean that we need to be innovative and agile. Everyone in the business needs to understand their contribution and we need to ensure that they have the right skills and equipment to fulfil their role.”

“Sometimes that means external qualifications, but more often than not, it means in-house training and have a dedicated training co-ordinator, as part of the HR team, who assists with this. Many people have been able to move between departments in the business, building their skill base along the way.”

BV Dairy buys £10million of milk every year from 30 farmers from small family farms or larger tenanted farms in the Blackmore Vale, all within a 30-mile radius of Shaftesbury.

“We aim to be a respected and trusted trading partner,” said Jim. “It’s one of our core values. This means that we liaise closely with customers and work closely with our direct milk suppliers to ensure that the day-to-day runs smoothly and also that we are supporting the longer term progression of dairy farms – this could be investment on the farm, reducing the use of antibiotics or continuing to improve animal welfare.”

“The 30 farms produce, collectively, 40-45M litres of milk per year. We contract Wincanton Transport to collect the milk and it is processed within hours of reaching the dairy. All the farms are certified to the Red Tractor Assurance Dairy Scheme, which covers food safety, animal welfare, hygiene and environmental protection through every part of the food chain. We know each of the farms and their families and employees personally and we always make ourselves available to them.”

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