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Farming North – Foundation Apprentices Needed

When I first ventured into the world of commercial radio, we were taught how the business worked and how the sales team were just as important to the station as the on-air presenters. We learned how the business of advertising works and the one thing that really stuck in my memory was the fact that advertisers sometimes have to get the message across 7 times before it sinks into the mind of the average listener. Of course, the snappier the advert, then the quicker it sinks in!

This year the supermarket Christmas “advertising wars” reached new heights as we saw Lidl and Aldi take on the so-called Big Six (Sainsbury, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S and Co-op) at their own game. Who could forget the antics of that little carrot?

Branding and advertising are just small examples of what makes our Farmer Jones Academy (FJA) Foundation Apprenticeship courses in Food and Drink Technology unique. Perhaps even more exciting is that these courses will be delivered in Secondary schools across the Highland region from this summer onwards.

So, what exactly is a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) in Food and Drink Technology and why should students in the final two years of their school life opt in to take part? We are currently recruiting youngsters in their S4 year to fill places on these courses and have already visited several schools on the campaign trail. FA’s are part of the Scottish Government’s new policy in education and as with any new ideas, there are lots of questions which come up when we speak to youngsters.

Q: What do mean by Food and Drink Technology?

A: Anything to do with Food and Drink … From how it’s grown, right through to manufacturing, packaging, advertising, selling, supermarkets, chefs, food safety, hospitality, engineering, nutrition and recycling and hundreds of other things as well!

Q: Is it really true that Food and Drink is the biggest single industry in Scotland?

A: Yes, way bigger than oil and gas or forestry and renewable energy. The Food and Drink Industry is set to double in size, to be worth £30 billion a year to the Scottish economy by 2030.

Q: Can I easily get a job in Food and Drink?

A: Yes, there is a continuous shortage of talented young people coming to work in Food and Drink.

Q: I want to be an engineer, a scientist, an IT expert, involved in advertising or sales, a chef or work in hospitality … shouldn’t I be looking elsewhere to get qualifications?

A: An FA in Food and Drink Technology will give you all of these skills and more!

Q: Do I have to go to College to do this?

A: No, FJA work in schools where the courses all start in year 1, but you will visit workplaces such as food manufacturers, restaurants and food producers to find out which part of the industry you might like to work in. In year 2 you will start to get experience in some workplaces as well.

Q: I want to leave school with Highers and might want to go to University, surely I should look at other options?

A: An FA in Food and Drink Technology gives you the equivalent of 2 Higher Grades.

Q: Are the exams difficult?

A: There are NO exams, you are assessed by FJA staff as you go through the course.

Q: Is it all hands on and growing things?

A: No, that’s just a small part of it, the remainder is a variety of things, such as designing new products and taking them to market and learning the business skills to do that. There are so many parts to the course, it’s hard to mention them all!

Q: Okay, I think I might want to try this, how and where do I apply or get more information?

A: You can register interest on-line at (no commitment at this stage) or you can speak to your guidance teacher at school who will point you in the right direction. Of course, our team at FJA are always more than happy to help and you can simply email us via our website where there are links to Skills Development Scotland who work with us to provide the FA in Food and Drink Technology.


And Finally, …

Do I need to say any more about this latest exciting development in Secondary School Education?  A lot of our FJA teaching methods are unique to us and have been devised from TV programmes such as “The Apprentice” or “Dragons Den”. I just wish that FA’s had been around when I went to school! Our parting shot to youngsters on the campaign trail is usually …

“Are you in?”   The answer we love to hear … “I’m in!”

We need to get youngsters into the Food and Drink Industry which is short of recruits and crying out for fresh new talent – this is our attempt to do just that!