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From Poland to Brompton-on-Swale – Assistant Factory Manager, Dorota Sawczuk (Dora), describes her career progression at Holmesterne since her arrival in the UK 14 years ago.

This is the story of how a decision to take a six month work contract in the UK back in 2004 put Dora on a career and personal development path whose outcome she never could have predicted.

Dora joins as Production Operative & is promoted to Technical Assistant

Arriving at the Leeming Bar cooked meats production facility with 7 other Polish Nationals, including her sister, Dora stared work as a Production Operative. She was not able to speak good English back then but listening to her now there is very little trace of an accent. Her language skills bear testimony to her ability to apply and develop her skill sets across every job role she has taken on and made her own.

 At the end of the original 6 month contract Dora decided to remain in the UK and in May 2005 she was offered a Technical Assistant role as a direct result of her attention to detail with included all aspects of product quality. Dora’s people skills were becoming very evident and she quickly rose to Production Supervisor – she knew the operatives in the teams on a personal level and was very conversant with Company policies and procedures including Health & Safety and Food Hygiene.

Appointed to Assistant Production Manager, Brompton

Remaining in this role until Spring of 2008 Dora was approached by the Directors to move up the road to the Brompton production facility where she was appointed Assistant Production Manager and quickly applied her thirst for knowledge and her experience to embracing the challenge of learning new regulations surrounding raw meat production.

Reporting to Martin Sargent, Production Manager, Dora took on the Health & Safety responsibility for the 2 manufacturing units at the Brompton site including all risk assessments. The job also covered product costing, staff supervision, arranging transport and processing orders. She enjoyed a pastoral role working with her colleagues providing translation services and continued in a customer facing role showing visitors around the site.

……and progression to a Site Technical role

In 2015 Dora applied for the Site Technical role reporting to Head of Technical, Mark Breeze. She was managing technically the production sites and driving quality standards to the highest level. Leading customers and BRC audits both planned and unannounced for the sites she became immersed in policies, procedures, specifications and quality control adding yet more strings to her bow.

A short sabbatical from Holmesterne and the UK!

After a year she admitted to having itchy feet and decided to leave the business for pastures new. Dora admits that it was a difficult decision to make as Holmesterne had literally become her life for the past 12 years and she was leaving behind friends, colleagues and a senior management team that respected her as an individual and as a trusted team member.

A new role as a site Technical Manger in a north east based food production company has brought new knowledge and experience, but Dora realised that a shift in her work life balance was looming and she left to go back to Poland.  She admits she had no clear plan of how long she would remain there but 7 months later, refreshed and ready for a new challenge she took a call from Mark Breeze and then Shaun Bedford inviting her back to Holmesterne where her input had been sorely missed.

Return to Holmesterne as Assistant Factory Manager

The arrival of the new Head of Production, Shaun Bedford and the unveiling of ambitious growth plans for the business – in which Dora was to play an active role – helped her to decide that a return to Holmesterne and the UK was the right move to make.

Dora was back! From November last year she has been reporting to Martin Sargent at Brompton as Assistant Factory Manager. As the Company gears up to supply new markets Dora has been recognised and endorsed for her teamwork and strong supervision skills as well as her technical knowledge and ability – testament to the Company’s policy of recognising and nurturing home gown talent!

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Marks & Spencer


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