The apprentice: what comes two mind when you hear these words? Perhaps the first image you conjure up is of some wide-buoi in a suit who isn’t just a one trick pony, but is a whole field of ponies and would crawl over his dead grandma for Lord Sugar’s lucrative investment and business insights.
Or perhaps, on the hand, it’s the young whipper-snapper that’s super keen to learn their craft on the job and expected to be doing yeast cell-counts or putting together their own HACCP but instead finds themselves making tea and playing solitaire on the office computer all day, while overlooked by those who are busy doing the real work.
We all have our preconceptions about what an apprentice actually does. And, in a day and age that values knowledge work over physical labour, those preconceptions about apprenticeships have driven hoards of young adults (in particular) to enroll in university degree courses. Not that there’s anything wrong with all that, but – as me and my wife often say – you don’t call a biochemist when your boiler dies… you call a plumber.
But if you visit the National Apprenticeship website, you’ll be quickly met with an extensive list of schemes ready to train people in some a vast array of jobs.
Apprenticeships often get a bad-wrap, particularly when it comes to wages, the quality of the apprenticeship schemes offered, or employers who take on apprentices for the sole benefit of cheap labour and a £1500 payout from the government.
But land yourself a good apprenticeship scheme and you can gain insights and knowledge from some of the top professionals in the industry, who have worked for some of the world’s largest breweries.
And – whatever you think of big beer – their standards and training often far outstrip the independent micro-brewing sector. These are some of the topics I discuss with brewery consultant Mark Tetlow.
Although apprenticeships generally offer good training, certification and the potential to carve out a long lasting career, there’s no getting around the UK governments’ current national minimum wage for an apprentice, which is £4.15 per hour. And that’s not just for the 16-18 year olds – this applies to anyone 19 and over in their first year of apprenticeship.
While Mark and I don’t discuss any specific events or conversations that have been taking place within the industry, we do talk about some of the underlying issues surrounding pay vs experience, ethical and living wages, and – ultimately – valuing people that often drives these conversations. And as taboo as it can sometime be to talk about money and earning, it’s a conversation that the brewing and hospitality sector desperately needs to contend with.
The main bulk of our conversation focuses on the positive aspects of apprenticeships, which Mark is the Brewing Lead at HIT Training, which is working with the University of Nottingham. Many who know Mark will attest to his care and dedication to the industry, and he has certainly earned his stripes in the world of brewing as you’ll hear from his impressive resume.
This Week’s Episode is Sponsored By…
Brupaks have been providing microbrewery supplies in small and manageable sizes for over 25 years, acting as agents and resellers for some of the world’s best producers of ingredients, sundries and equipment.
With some of the industries lowest minimums and lead times, we aim to make all of our products as accessible to all.
We’ve recently also ventured into canning, with our partners Oasthouse Engineering, releasing our smallest can seamer at a cost effective price, while providing cans in the smallest minimums as possible, seeking to make the introduction to canning as easy.
For more details call (01709) 780 888 or visit our website brupaks.co.uk
Since opening the doors in November 2017 we’ve been busy creating a unique setting inspired by the rich industrial heritage we have here in Eastleigh. Along with our regulars we’ve developed a warm and fun atmosphere in which to savour our fascinating range of Steam Town craft beer and other drinks.
Liam and his team are always cooking up a feast of US inspired comfort food from our grill. Look out for his changing Burger of the Week and those messy fries. On the last Tuesday of each month we hold our monthly Cicerone Evenings, a tutored tasting of 6 beers, a Steam Town brewery tour and a burger meal of your choice, all for £25 / head, check out our Facebook events page for more info.
The rustic and industrial bar area, has a selection of perching shelves and seating. Pick out the fittings and features which give a nod to the local area’s history. The light fittings behind and in the public bar area once illuminated the work of Eastleigh’s Railway Works and the Iron bar front once was a side of an old ‘Seacow’ rail carriage! You’ll also be able to relax in our dining area, enjoying our full menu produced with some of the best seasonal and local produce around. Our kitchen and waiting staff will be waiting to serve you in our refurbed First Class train seats, once used on the West Coast Inter-city trains. Our menu of US style ‘dirty’ burgers and Fries will be sure to satisfy.
So if you’re looking to organise a social or just a meet up with friends then we’d love to hear from you, get in touch via phone, email or message us and we’ll be happy to help. We all look forward to welcoming you down at Steam Town soon!
Check out our friends over at www.brewing-jobs.com to find out how you can apply for this week’s spotlighted brewing job.