Meet Jonty Larkin, winner of the Lord Graham Endeavor Award at the Institute of Meat Annual Prize-giving. This award is about overcoming adversity – Jonty has Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. His ability to manage this and his determination helped him achieve the highest grade at his butchery end-point assessment.
Jonty’s route to a butchery apprenticeship
Jonty started out as a Gamekeeper, before moving into the hospitality sector, where he became passionate about cooking and working with food. By 18, Jonty had decided that butchery was the career for him and answered an ad in a local butchers’ shop for a butchery apprentice. His boss was “firm but fair”, which suited him and helped him succeed. As part of the butchery apprenticeship Jonty completed these qualifications with his training provider,
Level 2 Award in Food Safety for Manufacturing (Meat & Poultry)
Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Food Supply Chain Business
Level 2 Award in Knife Skills for Food Processing
Preparing for end-point assessment
Leading up to the EPA date, Jonty focused on: practising cutting to a carcass specification, reviewing EPA requirements and researching information online. Besides getting help from his employers, Jonty used social media, especially Instagram to connect and get advice from many well respected butchers. The support received from FDQ was also important in the run-up to Jonty’s end-point assessment. He says the pre-EPA site visit with EPA Manager, Jim was ‘friendly’, ‘reassuring’ and ‘relaxed’ Equally important, was the ‘kind’ and ‘polite’ Independent Examiner FDQ assigned to Jonty. In fact, Jonty said he felt ‘no pressure’.
As with any apprentice, on the day of the EPA, it’s easy to feel scared by the occasion. Jonty said he just kept telling himself ‘you know can do it’ and recommends this to future apprentices.
Where is Jonty now?
The knowledge and expertise Jonty gained throughout his apprenticeship really helped him succeed. He is now part owner of the butchery shop he completed his apprenticeship in. His sights are set on becoming the best butchery employer for apprentices, saying this would be a way of ‘giving back to the industry.’