Cracking news the first Agricultural Apprentice achieved a distinction at EPA!

Congratulations to Jack from Joice & Hill Poultry Limited, part of Hendrix Genetics: A multi-species animal breeding, genetics and technology company, for gaining a well-deserved distinction in his Poultry Worker Apprenticeship.

The final part of the Apprenticeship, an independent End Point Assessment consisted of a professional discussion, multiple choice knowledge test and an observation. Jack said ‘I feel really proud knowing I achieved a distinction in my EPA. I think it’s a brilliant achievement which has set me up for my future education in poultry production.’

During this Apprenticeship, Jack felt his Poultec tutor and employer went above and beyond to help, advise and guide him within his job role. Jack said ‘My tutor, Nathan knew every answer to any questions I ever had, he was brilliant. This Apprenticeship has taught me everything about the poultry industry as I’d never worked with chickens before. Since completing I have gone onto study an SQF Level 7 in Poultry Production.’

We asked Jack what he learnt from doing this Apprenticeship and he said ‘Literally everything, from poultry fundamentals to social skills. I was taken on as a Level 2 Poultry Worker Apprentice, I didn’t know a thing about chickens but within in the space of this 18month Apprenticeship, I moved the up ladder and I am now a supervisor, responsible for take-off and dispatch, delegating staff and I also get to travel to different countries representing the company.’

 Jack said his social skills have improved massively too. ‘I have Asperger's which is a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, but I am now sitting in on company meetings, they are asking my opinion and I am having more input on company decisions, something I never thought I’d be doing.’

From school Jack went straight to sixth form, after this he worked in a pub, play centre, school and a call centre but he said ‘I never got the job satisfaction and achievement like I do from my job now.’ Before Joice and Hill Jack had never worked in poultry. He said ‘I kept chickens as a kid and did always dreamed of being a farmer one day but never thought it would be possible. I did some work experience on farms when I was younger but I was always under the impression that unless your family owned a farm you wouldn’t have a chance of becoming a farmer. However, this is not the case, so I would say to anyone looking at getting into poultry farming, go for it! If you’re hard working and passionate about your job you will go far.’

It was at the call centre when Jack thought enough is enough, and decided he wanted to become a chicken farmer! Soon after he found the Level 2 Poultry Worker Standard Apprenticeship at Joice and Hill which happened to be based at the end of his road. ‘I applied, got the job and have never looked back’ says Jack.

The Poultry industry is seeking youngsters. Jack feels his employer is very willing to invest in their staff to help keep the business going and he hopes other companies have the same mentality. ‘Joice and Hill have given me so many opportunities and support to learn and develop.’ adds Jack. Jacks manager would get monthly updates from Poultec Training on his progress which was great as they always knew where and what Jack was working on.

Jack says ‘I would recommend this Apprenticeship to anyone with or without any poultry knowledge as this course will most defiantly broaden your knowledge further. If you are the type of person that learns best through doing hands on, practical work then this Apprenticeship will suit you. There is written work but it relates to you job so it doesn’t feel hard.’

Due to COVID-19 Jack’s EPA part of the Apprenticeship was postponed as face to face meetings weren’t allowed. Jack opted for the face to face EPA over doing it remotely as he didn’t feel he would be able to get his points across as well as if he did it face to face. Once restrictions lifted he was finally able to complete his face to face EPA however this was now a while since completing all his course work however his tutor kept in contact with him throughout this gap and kept him in the loop and prepped him for it. ‘I was well prepared and I felt it all went well’ says Jack

Whilst on the Apprenticeship Jack was selected for the Zoetis-NFU Poultry Trainee Award in 2019 and he was a top 3 finalist. Jack didn’t win but he has been put forward once again for this year’s Zoetis-NFU Poultry Trainee Award. Best of luck Jack!

Nathan says ‘I was Jack’s tutor for his Level 2 Poultry Apprenticeship and Jack was one of the keenest learners I have taught over my 19 years with Poultec. From our 1st meeting it was very clear that Jack wanted to progress with Joice and Hill and told me from the start he wanted to complete before the expected end date! Jack was true to his word and consistently was ahead of schedule with it being quite common for him to be chasing me for more work to do.  Jack joined the business as an apprentice without any previous hatchery experience but threw himself into the role embracing any opportunity to develop his skills and knowledge. It came as no surprise to me that Jack has been promoted within the business before completing his course because of how keen he is and how committed he is to improve both himself and the way tasks are completed in the hatchery.  During my on-site training sessions with Jack he has always shown me ideas he has come up with to make the process more efficient and this certainly contributed to him achieving the distinction he deserved on his end point assessment.’

Anna Jack’s direct manager says ‘Since Jack started with Joice & Hill in Sept 2018 I have been very impressed with his enthusiasm to learn, and no matter the challenge given, he throws himself into it until completed.  I have been amazed at how quick he has absorbed the roles he has been given and is a great asset to the team and company and I am looking forward to seeing how he progresses within Joice & Hill and expect and hope he will have a lasting career with us.’