The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister, paid a visit to Thatchers Cider this week to find out about Thatchers’ award-winning apprenticeship programme and learn how it has been developed to meet the skills needs of the Somerset cider maker.
Thatchers Cider, the fourth generation cidermaker based at Myrtle Farm, in Sandford welcomed the first group of apprentices and graduates to its new Young Talent programme this September.
During her visit, Anne Milton was welcomed by Eleanor Thatcher, fifth generation cidermaker and the daughter of Thatchers managing director Martin Thatcher, and Operations Director Neil Day, before being given a tour of the cidermaking facilities by apprentices Tom Farron, Tom Baker, Tom Chambers, Tom Cross, Jade Newth, Harriet Waldron, Dominic Limberg and Joe Honey.
Emma Cox, Young Talent Lead at Thatchers explained to the Minister why the new programme has been important for the family-run company.
She said: “Having experienced significant growth over the last ten years, we’ve been looking to recruit new members of staff on a regular basis, but we’ve found that there had been a distinct lack of knowledge about careers within the food and drink sector amongst applicants. As a result relevant apprenticeships have been limited or indeed not appropriate for our requirements, and the quality of applications we had been receiving had historically been generally poor.
“We therefore decided to work with our local schools and colleges to create our own apprenticeship programme to attract the best people, further increasing our investment into training and development.”
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “Thatchers Cider have really raised the bar on their apprenticeship programmes offering young people a fantastic opportunity to gain skills in a wide range of areas. This family run and locally based company also works with schools making sure that young people know about the opportunities that an apprenticeship can bring. Thatchers are a business that understands the value of the enthusiasm, loyalty and passion that apprentices can bring.
“Apprenticeships offer people of all ages the chance to earn while they learn, gain new skills and get on in a career. With options to train right up to degree level in a range of exciting and rewarding jobs from cider maker, police constable to aerospace engineer, there is something for everyone!”