Hannah’s Story

Iworked with Philip Marley Butchers doing a Saturday job since I was about 13, and I knew this was an area I wanted to develop in. So, when I was offered an apprenticeship at Leeds City College, I took it as soon as the opportunity arose.

When I was younger, my dream was to become a vet. I grew up on a farm so I knew I wanted to do something with animals – but I didn’t expect to be doing butchers apprenticeship, it’s the opposite end to what I initially wanted to do!

I work from Monday to Saturday so everything is always changing. I deal with customers daily and do quite a lot of paperwork for the business and take ordersI make a lot of sausages, burgers and other value added products. But to get to that stage I also need to de-bone the carcasses. We often deep clean the butchers on Saturdays, but it is by far the busiest day of the week– as it is where we have most people come in to buy our products! There’s a new apprentice who recently started and I now get to teach and mentor him.

I’m learning more and more each day, so I know whatever I do in the future I will be prepared.

Everybody on the apprenticeship are at varying levels and I’ve made a few mistakes – but practice makes perfect! It’s nice at college because there are a lot more people my own age there so I still feel like a ‘normal’ teenager.

Through my apprenticeship, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world taking part in different competitions for butchery. In these competitions, you’re given specific cuts of meat and you have to de-bone and prepare them ready to be cooked. Value added products are also judged on innovation and presentation – it’s more than just cutting up meat! Last year, I entered one in Wales which I won. I qualified for another competition in November. I’ve even had the opportunity to compete for Team GB as well, which was brilliant. I went over to Australia, where I came second – I’ve been invited back to Perth in April to do another competition.

I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anyone, it’s a great opportunity; – you get paid and gain a qualification at the end of it. I’ve also got a top tip if you’re looking for an apprenticeship; don’t be put off by who you think tends to do that job role. I work in a male dominated job but I still have an apprenticeship! Even though I’m quite petite and struggle lifting some things, I can do it with the help of my colleagues. It doesn’t stop me!

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