In March 2014 Swallow Fish started looking for a suitable
candidate to help grow the business and keep the artisan skills
Glen Dawson, 16, from Beadnell near Seahouses, left school in
June and started his apprenticeship with Swallow Fish on 1 July. He
is following a two-year Level 2 Performing Manufacturing Operations
Apprenticeship which will enable him to gain a qualification while
learning the skills of this traditional trade.
Husband and wife team, Patrick and Karen Wilkin, who own and run
the smokehouse chose to recruit an apprentice to help expand their
business and reach new markets. Their business will provide Glen
with hands-on experience of the whole production experience
including skills such as unloading freshly caught fish and
shellfish, splitting, lighting fires, smoking, curing and slicing,
as well as the business aspects such as mail order, retail,
wholesale and customer service.
Karen said: "Our apprentice will gain an abundance of experience
in all aspects of the business from unloading fish, lighting fires,
smoking and curing to fulfilling mail order and retail sales.
"It is a rare opportunity for someone to learn unique skills and
develop a career in a niche market, whilst learning transferable
skills that can be applied to other manufacturing roles."
Once Glen has completed his apprenticeship he will have all the
skills needed to work with fresh fish and shellfish, and in the
Glen said: "I'm pleased to have the opportunity to gain hands-on
experience while working towards a qualification. Through my
apprenticeship I'm learning lots of practical skills and helping to
keep an ancient trade alive."
Northumberland College also work with other craft food
production companies throughout the region including the Tyne Bank
Brewery and Doddington Dairy offering Apprenticeships and bespoke
training to meet their business needs.
Anyone wanting to find out more about how apprentices can
benefit a business can contact Northumberland College by emailing
or by calling 01670 841 268.
Northumberland College offers apprenticeships in over 40
different subjects and works with over 700 employers across the
region in a wide range of industry sectors.