North Yorkshire farm shop launches apprenticeship scheme

Cedarbarn Farm Shop & Café is on the lookout for a new apprentice to join its butchery team, after introducing a scheme in conjunction with Leeds City College. 

The Pickering-based business, in North Yorkshire, decided to provide this opportunity to help highlight the trade as an exciting and comfortable career path.

“We have three master-skilled butchers on site and, sadly, the younger generation don’t seem to be coming into the system,” Alison Riley, general manager at Cedarbarn, told Meat Trades Journal.

She said this could be partly attributed to a lack of communication into the trade at school level. “It would be great if people knew what is was about, especially in a farm shop environment, because we have all our beef and our own lamb. So, it’s not just coming in and working in a butchery department; it’s giving them an insight into where the food comes from, and the [supply] chain and how it is all processed into what we can do. It’s quite exciting really.”

Of the current butchers working at the business, the youngest is in his 50s. The apprenticeship scheme has been designed to help bridge that generational gap, with the programme aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25. The successful candidate will work hands-on with Cedarbarn’s butchers for four days of the week, and spend one day learning at Leeds City College. Tutors will visit the business to assess the apprentice. Although the college is roughly 60 miles from the farm shop, expenses will be covered for the right candidate.

Whilst the apprentice butcher will learn how to bone out a carcase from scratch and all the necessary skills to make a successful career for him- or herself, they will also be educated about the full farm-to-fork process.

“Because we have a 40-seater café on-site, it means that we can actually integrate some of those butchery skills with the chef,” added Riley. “We can develop new dishes, we already have a full range of our own ready-made meals and we also sell within the shop, not only meat from the butchery counter but meals-to-go.”

She concluded that, with an extension to the business planned for next spring, this scheme could provide a life-developing opportunity for the correct person.

“We want somebody we can invest in, to stay with us,” she explained. “We’ve got to have the right candidate and this is a job for life. Our butchers have been in the industry, collectively, for about 40 years and that really is a tell-tale sign that, when you come into this sort of industry, it is for life.”

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