Food & Drink Specialisms

Our team has a vast amount of experience in the food and drink industry and this is a major part of the reason that we can help you put in place clear and straightforward solutions that work first time.

We are delighted to have long standing relationships with our clients and are always happy to have a chat with anyone who would like to find out more about how we can help them.

Our specialist food and drink team work across the breadth of the industry, throughout Scotland.

The team’s in-depth knowledge of this industry stands us out, enabling us to quickly find solutions for our clients, build long term relationships, and to know what will work and won’t work in the reality of the food and drink industry, the challenges that are being faced and the opportunities that can be maximised.

We provide a large number of Modern Apprenticeships to our clients as well as business improvement programmes, leadership and development programmes, learning and development qualifications, and specialist food and drink training qualification services such as HACCP, root cause analysis and internal audit.  We also provide a range of accredited programmes from the ILM and SQA as well as qualifications from food and drink industry bodies.

Finally, we provide consultancy services on a range of topics including work instructions and SOPs, and approaches to learning and development.

Our people also work closely with sector bodies of the industry to help shape policy, approach and qualifications, providing expertise on what will or will not work in the industry.


Seeking training or audits conducted by trained, competent professionals? We conduct internal audits aligned with schedules or provide training.
Ever considered empowering your employees with essential food hygiene awareness? Rapid hygiene training to ensure top quality production
Ever considered Root Cause Analysis for precise problem-solving? It aims to uncover fundamental issues for prevention.
Interested in empowering staff with fundamental HACCP knowledge? Give employees a basic awareness of HACCP and hazard analysis.
Ready to lead incident investigations? Prepare to lead investigations with our training providing the tools and confidence to do so.
Ready to elevate your work with precise guidance? We draft, implement instructions, or train your team for seamless workflow.
Ever wondered about the keys to workplace safety and well-being? Covering duties: employer, employee safety responsibilities.


Gordon and MacPhail’s introduction of the Modern Apprenticeship program in September 2021 has significantly nurtured a culture of openness and continuous growth within the company. Through this initiative, employees have acquired a blend of practical skills and essential theoretical insights, significantly enhancing their confidence and opening up new career opportunities. The program has effectively expanded their viewpoints and played a crucial role in streamlining succession planning processes. As the number of participants completing the program increases, so does the enthusiasm and active engagement across the organization, fostering a strong, supportive community network. This program primarily focuses on Modern Apprenticeships in Food and Drink Operations, offering a variety of pathways for skill development and professional advancement.

Working with the Tunnock’s team has been an exceptionally enriching experience, as they are deeply committed to developing their workforce. They prioritise the strategic imparting of essential skills, comprehensive knowledge, and confidence, heavily emphasising a supportive buddy system for effective training. Their forward-thinking vision aims for everyone within the company to actively support and contribute to the training needs, whether it’s through engaging in quick 1-to-1 learning sessions, providing hands-on machine breakdown assistance, or facilitating role rotations for broader experience. This inclusive and dynamic approach guarantees a steady supply of well-equipped, experienced trainers, fostering a robust sense of confidence and motivation among the team members, as enthusiastically stated by Angela, HR Manager at Tunnocks.

We’re thrilled to work once again with Campbells Prime Meat Ltd, guiding six team members through their Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations at SCQF Level 5, with a focus on the Meat & Poultry pathway. The company’s unique structure assigns each employee a client order within their department, offering an opportunity for specialization and job satisfaction. Alastair, the project manager, and Steven, the assessor for Campbell Meats, commend the engagement of Butchery trainees in the program, seeing it as a solid foundation for a career in butchery. Campbells Prime Meat Ltd serves a diverse clientele, including Michelin Star restaurants, and collaborates with Quality Meat Scotland for butchery technique demonstrations. Plus, they’re our preferred meat source for company barbecues

Working with Farne Salmon & Trout Ltd, we see their commitment to the team’s continuous training and development. So far, over 80 staff members have completed their Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship, with more on their way to achieving Level 3. This program covers various pathways, including Fish and Shellfish Processing, Distribution, Operational, and Production & Processing Skills, highlighting the dedication to enhancing their workforce’s skills. This reflects their commitment to both employee development and industry leadership, ensuring their team is equipped with the necessary skills to maintain high standards of quality. Through this comprehensive training program, they continue to invest in their staff’s professional growth, reinforcing Farne’s position as a leading name.

Since partnering in 2012, we’ve been delivering Modern Aapprenticeship programmes at Level 2 and 3 to Macsween’s employees, alongside a comprehensive leadership development programme for team leaders that spans all business areas. Moving forward, line leaders at Macsween are set to complete this leadership programme as well. We’re also excited about introducing an in-house train-the-trainer course and continuing our commitment to the Modern Apprenticeships, further enhancing our collaborative efforts to foster skill development and leadership within the organisation. This ongoing initiative reflects our dedication to not only advancing employee capabilities but also to contributing to the company’s overall success and leadership in the industry.

Working with McIntosh Donald

Starting in 2005, our collaboration with McIntosh Donald led to the successful implementation of various projects. We worked together in enhancing their workforce’s skills and operational standards. Key initiatives and projects included the Modern Apprenticeship programme, aimed at professional development, and food hygiene courses to ensure safety and quality at McIntosh Donald. Additionally, our train-the-trainer courses have empowered staff with essential teaching skills, while internal auditor training enhanced quality assurance capabilities. This comprehensive partnership reflected our shared commitment to excellence and continuous improvement, fostering a culture of learning and operational efficiency within McIntosh Donald.


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  • "Increased knowledge of the staff not only for how they do something but also why they are doing things.  We find the team are bringing issues to our attention rather than management or QA picking them up.  The Polaris Learning Consultant has been incredibly helpful on a number of levels - from highlighting production issues, helping with quality and technical issues and also providing solutions."

    Quality Assurance Manager JK Thomson, Scotland
  • “Really enjoyed the course, learning more about what I am doing or how to improve in my workplace.  It was a great opportunity and I would recommend others to do the same.”

    A learner, Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations Large Fish Processing Company
  • "One of the benefits we have experienced as a result of the service from Polaris Learning was raising good awareness of the need for quality product within the supply chain.  Engaging with our Levy payers has also resulted in new businesses being set up to help expand the red meat offering to the general public.  They are efficient, reliable, and provide an innovative service from passionate staff."

    Livestock Development Manager (at the time of feedback) Quality Meat Scotland, Scotland
  • "Staff have enhanced skills and knowledge through the work they have covered when undertaking the Modern Apprenticeships.   Staff are also more motivated and keen to learn to help with their development throughout the business."

    HR Manager Deans of Huntly, Scotland
  • "The service from Polaris Learning has been outstanding! Their onsite assessor has led from the front and doing a sterling job. There is a huge amount of effort and hard work required from pre-work to registration then from delivery to completion, and Polaris Learning do this extremely well.  Our business needs to be flexible and they allow us to do this."

    Human Resources Manager (at time of feedback) Large Fish Processing Company
  • "Course was very well delivered and the trainer described every single bit of information very well and to my level of understanding."

    A learner, Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations Scottish Abattoir
  • "The course gave me a better understanding of where I can be involved in Internal Audits and what factors in my role will need to be taken into consideration when an audit will be planned to be carried out."

    A learner, Internal Audit training workshop Scottish Meat Production Company
  • "This course has helped improve my confidence within my role and helped me develop further, would recommend all staff enrol. My assessors were extremely helpful and supportive and we were able to move forward at my pace and work around when I am free."

    A learner, Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations Scottish Fish and Chip Shop
  • "We have been able to provide relevant on site training to a number of employees as part of their normal working day.    Polaris Learning have done this effectively and dealt with all of the funding requirements making it a painless exercise for the company.  A significant number of staff have now achieved Modern Apprenticeship's which they never would have done without the input and support from Polaris Learning.  They are a professional company and deliver the results they promise."

    HR Manager (at time of feedback) International Fish Canners & Nor-Sea Foods Ltd
  • "The trainer was lovely.  Was very useful having someone who knew the ins and outs of the business and could answer or find out anything that needed clarifying."

    A learner, Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations Scottish Abattoir
  • "The trainer had a lot of knowledge and experience and used it to transfer information in an easy to understand way."

    A learner, Internal Audit training workshop Scottish Meat Production Company
  • "We have supported 11 candidates from across Production, Quality and Warehousing to work towards their qualifications so far. The Modern Apprenticeship system is now being used on site to support the harmonised working conditions and has been written-in to the revised job descriptions which are used to provide a career map through the roles available on site. Everyone on site has developed from this programme and a healthy debate has resulted in an increased level of professionalism from everyone at the factory."

    Operational Manager Cott Beverages, United Kingdom
  • "The trainer was great, he had great knowledge which helped me with some questions and I was not rushed through it.  He listened to things I may have been stuck on and broke them down brilliantly."

    A learner, Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations Scottish Seafood Wholesaler
  • “The Level 2 and 3 Modern Apprenticeship programmes have given our employees a prime opportunity to expand their knowledge and to have their practical skills assessed to national recognised standards, which demonstrates our confidence in the ability of our staff at all levels. This will ensure that we will continue to deliver the quality and service that we are renowned for.”

    Training Manager Farne Salmon & Trout Ltd
  • "Lovely trainers.  Very enthusiastic about the material which rubs off on people.  Always available for comment or help through phone or email no matter what day or time.  Very good."

    A learner, Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations Large Fish Processing Company
  • "Very helpful course - would like to progress on to more training at higher level. Very happy with the way the course was presented by assessor who would spend time going through questions that I did not completely understand."

    A learner, Level 2 Food and Drink Operations
  • "This course has encouraged me to reach deeper into the technical side of my role.  This in turn will help me develop my skills further.  I will highly recommend this course to my colleagues."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 3
  • "The trainer provided great support throughout the course.  Any questions I had were answered swiftly and in a clear manner.  I would highly recommend great trainer to future candidates."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 3
  • "Excellent course - trainer was brilliant.  Good communicator and very pleasant, nice guy."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 2
  • "Course was a lot better than I anticipated it to be.  Tutors presented the course confidently and clearly.  I believe I have learned and understood their tutorial."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 3
  • "Course made me more aware of responsibilited and the trainers put it across well."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 3
  • "I enjoyed this course, it made me think about what I was doing every day. Both trainers I found were very friendly and helpful and freed up time to help us get course completed."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 3
  • "Very helpful and enjoyable course, trainer friendly, helpful and very kind.  I enjoyed the course and would like to find out if there is any further development."

    A learner, Food & Drink Level 2
  • "I loved this course. Trainer helped me a lot, answered if I had any questions. Information was easy to understand. Everything was explained clearly and in easy way to understand."

    A Learner, Production & Processing Seafood Company
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