United Biscuits has pledged to run more apprenticeships in different parts of the UK.

The maker of Hula Hoops and Jaffa Cakes said its apprenticeships at its Aintree site in Liverpool and Harlesden factory in London had been a success.

“We embarked on a major investment and upskilling programme at both sites that required employees to learn skills and acquire knowledge beyond what you would expect from their production grades,” said United Biscuits group HR director Andy Newall.

United Biscuits, which currently has 38 apprentices, now wants to extend the programme to sites across the country.

“We found that the rigour and breadth of training included in a modern apprenticeship was exactly what we needed. Our goal is to expand this development to other locations within the UK,” said Newall.

To help fund the programme’s expansion, United Biscuits said it would spend 10% more in 2012 on developing its workforce.

The company said it was well on track to achieve the HR goals it had set in 2009, including the creation of learning centres at all UK manufacturing sites, having 20% of the workforce complete an NVQ, and providing work placement for 100 school children. Having recruited 26 graduates in 2011, it is also meeting its target of employing at least 20 graduates a year.

“I am very pleased with the progress we are making with our people and community programme,” said United Biscuits CEO Benoit Testard.