John Mettrick discusses apprenticeships

It would be fair to say that JW Mettrick & Son know their stuff when it comes to Butchery. 

This North Derbyshire based business, employing over 50 staff across three shops, first opened its doors to customers over a century ago. Today’s modern business includes an e-commerce arm and a small abattoir, in addition to the retail shops which form their core business. Still family owned Mettrick’s supply a wide range of customers, from housewives to high end restaurants. With a wealth of experience in employing and training young butchers, John Mettrick talked to FTC’s Chief Executive, Bill Jermey about his experience of the Level 2 Butchery Apprenticeship from an employer’s perspective, and how his latest apprentice on the programme was getting on.

Q: Over the course of your career John, how many butchers do you think you’ve helped to train?
A: Well I’ve been a butcher for 32 years and I’d say I’ve helped train up around 20 young butchers.

Q: What are your first impressions of the Level 2 Standard?
A: The new apprenticeship is so much more comprehensive than anything we’ve previously had. It will be more difficult to achieve for sure, but that will make it all the more worthwhile and more recognised and respected by the industry. You can clearly see by the syllabus that it has been developed by butchers who understand the needs of a modern butchery business.

Q: You’ve just recruited a new apprentice, Reece Clayton, onto the Level 2. How did you find the process?
A: Getting Reece registered and dealing with the paperwork etc has been fine. It’s all very well organised and help is at hand if you need it. The biggest surprise to me was the objection from his mum! She was very unsure as to whether a butchery apprenticeship was a worthwhile career choice for her son. Apprenticeships can have a poor reputation with parents; some still feel they are simply a way of keeping young people occupied, rather than training them for a genuine career.

Q: How did you overcome her concerns?
A: I felt it was important to explain how much apprenticeships have changed and how focussed on employment they now are. I arranged a meeting, showed her the syllabus and explained the skills and knowledge Reece will develop throughout his apprenticeship as well as the behaviours required for a successful career in butchery. I also discussed the additional formal qualifications that underpin the apprenticeship. She was both surprised and impressed, and I’m pleased to say, gave her blessing. Reece is now working towards his apprenticeship with Mettricks.

Q: How do you feel he is progressing?
A: It can be difficult to settle a school-leaver into full time work, especially in a demanding industry like Butchery. The apprenticeship gives Reece a structure and a focus to his working day though, which has helped him make the transition. I’m pleased with the progress he’s making. He’s a hard working lad and has already has set his sights on progressing from Apprentice eventually to Master Butcher.

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