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Apprentices play a vital role

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

  • HANDS-ON: Rocky Parkin checks the brewing.

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APPRENTICES feature largely in the plans of Bruce and Louis Hutton. The brewing brothers not only run Wizard Brewery, but will be opening the Pier Brewery Tap and Grill on Ilfracombe Quay in April and Moorish Farm Shop near Kentisbury in March.

Wizard Brewery at Mullacott Business Park already employs two brewing apprentices, Dan England and Rocky Parkin, who will also work in the new Moorish brewery at the farm shop. A butchery apprentice and two catering and hospitality apprentices are also being recruited.

"Youth unemployment is a big issue in the UK and it is becoming harder and harder to go to university," said Bruce Hutton. "I wanted to do my bit and I really believe in the apprenticeship scheme."

Bruce believes apprenticeships make commercial sense because the grant has enabled them to hire two people instead of one, giving the brewery an extra pair of hands at a time of rapid expansion.

Bruce also likes being able to train the apprentices to fit the business: "You can train them your way. We want them both to be head brewers. We won't be standing still. As the business grows, they will grow too."

Because it had not trained brewing apprentices before, Duchy College worked with Wizard Brewery to identify the specialist modules relevant to its business needs.

While much of the training will be delivered through distance learning, Wizard Brewery is topping up the training, funding courses for Dan and Rocky at Brewlab, a specialist international brewery training provider in Sunderland.

This is not only improving their understanding of brewing, but also enabling them to bring to the firm knowledge of the latest brewing techniques.

Bruce is generally pleased with the apprenticeship scheme, although suggested better communications would benefit the whole recruitment process as there are so many organisations involved.

He thought a timeline for employers stating when each action was to be completed would be good for keeping everyone up to date.

As Bruce and Louis build a group of businesses focusing on good value, high quality food and drink, apprentices will play a major role .

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