The Cadbury Factory in Dunedin is another well known tourist attraction. It is one of only two locations for Cadbury World, where visitors can take a tour of the factory and learn about the chocolate making process. Outside the building is a window display featuring moving puppets that are controlled by a motorised system. The puppets are undertaking various activities related to chocolate making.
I worked the night shift in the Cadbury Factory for 22 months, between September 2005 and June 2007. When I told people that I worked in a chocolate factory, many of them would ask, “Can you get me cheap chocolates?” As a staff member I was entitled to cheap second-grade chocolates. These were often chocolates that were misshapen, and usually not in the final packaging that you see in the shops. The chocolates were just as delicious as shop-bought Cadbury chocolates. I was happy to buy them for friends and family, and, of course, I ate some myself.
A bonus of working in the Cadbury Factory was that we were allowed to eat as much chocolate as we liked, as long as it hadn’t been wrapped in the final retail packaging. Of course, after working there a few weeks, the idea of eating a lot of chocolate seems less tempting! I have fond memories of eating almonds, cashews, and large wafer biscuits; all ingredients of various chocolate blocks or bars.
During the time I worked at Cadbury, I had several different jobs. For many months, I operated a machine that covered Moro bars in chocolate. I worked with a good team of people, and often went to the social club with them for a few drinks, on a Friday or Saturday night. Sometimes we went to other bars or nightclubs after the social club finished. Another job was working in the area where the caramels and soft fillings for Cadbury Roses and Continental ranges of chocolates were made. This area was particularly hot due to working around the cooking kettles and using steam for cleaning them.
A few times I was able to work in the warehouse area of the factory. As I worked night shift, this was relatively quiet. Boxes of packaged chocolates would come down a conveyor system from the factory and move around an area that is a little like the baggage claim at an airport. When it was quiet, I could sit and read books for 10-15 minutes at a time, before having to stack the boxes onto pallets. This job also required driving a forklift to move the full pallets to storage shelves.
One night there had been a chocolate spill from one of the kettles. I recall that the soft, warm chocolate was several centimetres thick on the floor. The best option was to let it go hard, and then break it up into pieces to remove it. Another night there was a spill of glucose. Unlike chocolate, glucose stays soft and sticky, and must be cleaned up with a lot of hot water and steam. On another occasion, an engineer thought he’d dropped a screwdriver into a chocolate kettle, and after most of the chocolate was drained out I had to climb inside the kettle and scrape out the rest of the chocolate. Inside the kettle was very warm!
Although it was sometimes boring working in a factory, I also had a lot of fun with my co-workers. I will always look back on my time spent working there, with fond memories.
- What does “night shift” mean?
- What are “second-grade chocolates”?
- What is “retail packaging”?
- What is a “social club”?