Sharp’s reflects on the success of its apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week 2021.
Despite the obvious challenges facing the industry, Rock-based Sharp’s Brewery remains committed to investing in developing its people at its site in North Cornwall. In a positive move, the team has been training up the next generation of brewery talent through a number of key Cornwall-based apprenticeships and has also recently promoted one of its previous apprentices.
In a true success story, Sharp’s former engineering apprentice, Will Purdy, was offered a full-time engineering role at the company in 2020, after having successfully exceeded the standard required for this promotion. Shortly after, the team took on two new apprentices; one within the technical brewing team who is completing a Hospitality Industry Training (HIT) brewing apprenticeship and the other in the sphere of events.
Although being a relatively new introduction to the industry, the HIT brewing apprenticeship has become a highly regarded qualification in the industry and uniquely builds technical knowledge, hands-on practical skills and site-specific understanding, resulting in a well-rounded professional brewer. The apprenticeship programme provides the opportunity for brewers to progress into many future brewing roles, such as technical brewing, or operations management.
Nina Griggs, Sharp’s Junior HR Business partner said, “Apprentices are key to our talent planning. Taking on apprentices helps us to improve the range of skills we have and provides us with skills for the future. We are proud to nurture our own talent and to encourage our apprentices to learn, develop and start their career in beer. This year we have welcomed two new apprentices in brewing and marketing and our goal is to continue to roll out apprenticeship schemes at Sharp’s in the future. We are also very proud of our engineering apprentice who, this year completed his apprenticeship and has successfully moved into a permanent engineering role at Sharp’s in Rock.
”Former apprentice turned full-time employee, Will Purdy, said, “I started my engineering apprenticeship four years ago with little to no engineering experience. I have gained knowledge and experience to set me up for a career in engineering in multiple skills including PLCs, mechanical principles and electrical installation and fault finding. I have had the opportunity to work alongside fantastic engineers who have been the main driving force through my apprenticeship to gain the knowledge and experience needed in the engineering world. Now with my apprenticeship completed I use that knowledge and experience gained to keep the brewery running while still learning more and more every day to further improve and increase my skills.”
Aaron McClure, Sharp’s head brewer, said, “The management team at Sharp’s Brewery is committed to developing our brewing talent. This is an ethos engrained in us. My personal career path has followed this development model, and it has proven to be a fantastic way to build a well-rounded, diverse, and passionate team.”
Aaron continues, “I’m genuinely excited about our future generation of brewers, developing them is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. Brewing is a never-ending journey, blending chemistry, biology, and creative flare with some timeless methods. Once you learn what is required to produce the perfect pint, I found it impossible to ignore the pull of brewing and my love and passion for it is as strong as ever.”
Case study 1 – Callum White
23-year-old Callum White is Sharp’s enthusiastic brewing apprentice. Callum arrived for an interview at Sharp’s Brewery for an initial trainee role when he was 20, travelling from Hertfordshire to Cornwall via public transport, which consisted of two trains, a bus, and a boat (across the Camel estuary and the Doom Bar) immediately demonstrating his unquestionable commitment and desire for the role. Needless to say, Callum was successful in his interview and shortly after, he relocated to Cornwall to start laying the foundations for his career in brewing.
Since his time at Sharp’s, Callum’s passion hasn’t wavered and he continues to grow from strength to strength in terms of knowledge, skill and technical ability. When the Hospitality Industry Training (HIT) brewing apprenticeship opportunity opened up, Callum eagerly grasped the opportunity with both hands, went for the interview and was promoted into the new role.
Callum said, “I’m so happy to be building a brewing career with Sharp’s Brewery through the HIT apprenticeship. I have a chemistry degree and this opportunity allows me to grow my scientific understanding into an area I genuinely enjoy, beer! The brewery and the team here are great. Re-locating to Cornwall on my own at 20 years old was a huge step for me, and over a year down the line I couldn’t be happier. It really has paid off. I’ve already had the opportunity to develop and brew my own beer, and I can’t wait to develop more recipes and brew more of my own beers in future.”
Case Study 2 – Kacey Breakspear
Kacey Breakspear is Sharp’s Brewery’s talented events apprentice. She is progressing really well, despite lockdown decimating the events industry in her first year as an events apprentice.
Kacey commented, “I’m so excited about starting my career at Sharp’s Brewery within the marketing team. Over my last few years at school and college, I developed a real interest in marketing and particularly in events. I’ve been to a number of events where Sharp’s has had a presence, and seeing how the team brings the elements of Cornwall really inspired me. So when the opportunity arose to join Sharp’s Brewery, I knew this was exactly the type of place that I wanted to build my career. I’m absolutely loving working at Sharp’s and getting to be a part of and work with such an amazing group of people!”
Nick White, brands activation manager at Sharp’s said, “Having been supported by the Sharp’s leadership team to establish a really creative and unique in-house events team, it feels like a really natural progression to have created an apprenticeship to join us. I firmly believe in the power of live events, supporting community projects and giving people memorable beer experiences. This apprenticeship is a real opportunity to share our approach and hard-won learnings with a new team member. There is no doubt that learning on the job through coaching, smart applied learning and real event experience is the best way to gain the skills and understanding needed to develop in the events world. Beyond the events team we have a truly talented marketing and brewery team to round out the apprenticeship and support the learning.”