As part of National Apprenticeship week 2023, FDQ are proud to feature this story as it perfectly tells the purpose of an apprenticeship and the benefits of working whilst also learning at the same time.
Annie Jones tells her story from washing up as a Saturday job at her local butchers to working full time as a trainee butcher, she is now preparing for her End-point Assessment.
Annie’s journey into the butchery industry
Annie began working at her local butcher shop G Debman Butchers in Ipswich when she was 13, as a Saturday job, washing plates. The thought of becoming a butcher hadn’t ever crossed her mind. A few years ahead, and Annie had completed her final year at Sixth Form. She wanted to do something ‘hands on’, ruling out the possibility of classroom learning at university. As mentioned, although not something she wanted to do from the start, she felt a passion for butchery. All of her time spent at the butcher shop, she said it made her ‘fall in love with the industry’.
Her apprenticeship journey so far
Along with her need for hands on learning, she’d also felt a love and a loyalty to the shop that she’d spent years in. The shop had an available position of becoming a trainee butcher, a spot Annie felt like she couldn’t refuse. After Annie had begun her Level 2 Butcher Apprenticeship, she relished the opportunity to work, get paid and learn at the same time.
So far Annie has ‘loved every minute’ of her apprenticeship. She’d described her experience as ‘very smooth and plane sailing’. As months went by, she’d learnt so much and built great relationships within her shop. Balancing her work life with her apprenticeship learning, Annie said M.E.A.T Ipswich had been ‘incredibly supportive’ along the way. Annie also mentioned, 'every two weeks I would get a support phone call and complete on the phone training as well as answer challenging butchery related questions’.
Annie is soon approaching the end of her apprenticeship as she looks forward to her End-point Assessment. Looking back on her journey in the meat industry, FDQ asked Annie what she has enjoyed the most so far. Annie responded by saying ‘For me personally, I love being able to visit the livestock market - I went there on my own and selected livestock by myself, I feel privileged and lucky to be able to do that.’ Also adding, ‘I got to speak to farmers, sellers and buyers and get a great insight into all of the aspects of the industry, including the step by step process of produce before it arrives at the shop.’
What has Annie learned during her apprenticeship?
Annie treated FDQ to an interesting fact about how to identify a male or female through looking at the bone structure of an animal, or even by just looking at their back legs!
As her apprenticeship continues, Annie says she’s still learning the modern ways to cut meat. She described it as 'different’ comparing it to the traditional values of her current employment, G Debman Butchers. Although traditional, Annie loves this aspect of her job, describing it as a privilege.
Annie will continue to work in the meat industry she has grown to love. Her next step is to continue to grow as a butcher, and to develop her skills further. Annie mentioned, ‘I have a massive loyalty to my current boss, I would like to stay with him working until he retires and then potentially consider taking on his shop if I am ready.’ Also adding, ‘ I would love to run my own butchers shop and to continue current values of being a traditional butchers’.
Annie would like to try and advocate for apprenticeships in general not just in the meat industry. She added, ‘There is a big stigma around apprenticeships. I’d like to motivate people to go into jobs that you may not necessarily think about.
For anyone looking to join the industry
Annie Jones, M.E.A.T Ipswich, apprentice butcher, -
‘Life is too short to say no to something if you’re thinking about doing it. You will learn so much and have the most amazing time doing it, the people around you are fantastic. It’s not worth worrying about the opinion of others - If you want to do it, do it.’
To find out more about Level 2 & Level 3 butchery end-point assessments see below,
Level 2 Butcher End-point Assessment: https://www.fdq.org.uk/l2-butcher
Level 3 Advanced Butcher End-point Assessment: https://www.fdq.org.uk/l3advbutcher