Biscuit factory boss wins top award

Jones is in charge of the Pladis Wigston factory near Leicester, which makes 15,000 tonnes of biscuits annually. It manufactures brands such as TeaTime (Family Circle) and Victoria assortments and employs up to 570 people in peak season.

Jones joined Pladis in 1984 at the former McVitie’s Ashby-de-la-Zouch biscuit factory on the Youth Training Scheme, having left school without qualifications. He took on his current role in 2017.

He spent years packing biscuits, working in the warehouse, and mixing chocolate, moving to the Ashby snacks factory before seeking personal development via the company’s Operator Development Scheme.

He was then given the opportunity to cover the holidays of supervisors and quickly found a natural ability to engage with people and teams.

From there he performed in a number of permanent managerial roles, including process manager and warehouse manager before being promoted to the position of manufacturing manager and becoming a member of the site leadership team at Ashby.

The shortlist for the award

  • Rob James, Princes
  • Brian Jones, Pladis
  • Paul Jones, Arla Foods
  • Leanne Taylor, Eat Natural
  • Paddy Townsend, Westaway Sausages
  • Ben Wingfield, Cranswick Country Foods

The Wigston site, along with other food manufacturers in the Leicester area, became the focus of media attention because of rising cases of COVID-19 numbers, with the potential to seriously destabilise working arrangements.