Scottish Apprenticeship Week: Teen Falkirk butcher overcomes the odds and makes the cut to reach final of award

An apprentice butcher has described how he overcame challenges to succeed in his job.
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Now Marc Ingram is in the running for a top award with the winner due to be revealed next week.

Marc, who lives in Langlees, worried about his career options when he left Falkirk High School at 15 with few qualifications because of his dyslexia and ADHD.

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The teenager applied for a Modern Apprenticeship in Skills for Craft Businesses (Butchery) through a school initiative and hasn’t looked back.

Marc Ingram is in  the running for a top Modern Apprentice award. Pic: ContributedMarc Ingram is in  the running for a top Modern Apprentice award. Pic: Contributed
Marc Ingram is in the running for a top Modern Apprentice award. Pic: Contributed

Working with a team of butchers at Blair Drummond Smiddy – a farm shop, butchery and café all under one roof – helped him gain skills and competence in many aspects of the trade, even inspiring him to want his own shop one day.

He quickly became a key member of the team, completing his apprenticeship and playing a significant role in the 24 per cent growth the business has achieved.

Marc, 18, said: “I used to feel so ashamed that I couldn’t read or write properly but doing the Modern Apprenticeship has totally changed my life.

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“Being able to go into a workplace, earn money and learn at the same time was the best feeling ever. When I was younger, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to work or move out of home – I can’t believe how far I’ve come.

“I want other young people to know there are still great career pathways such as apprenticeships, even if school wasn’t for them.”

Marc passed his driving test, bought his own car and a motorbike and is now saving up to move into his own home.

He regularly receives glowing customer feedback, was invited by Quality Meat Scotland to share his journey on a webinar they hosted and has visited his old school to inspire other pupils to apply for apprenticeships.

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Marc, who also attended Bainsford Primary School, also applied the same determination in his personal life – successfully losing eight stone in a year.

His achievements have led to him being a finalist in the Modern Apprentice of the Year SCQF Level 5 category of the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

Modern Apprenticeships are jobs open to anyone aged 16 and over who wants to work, learn and earn.

Modern Apprentices spend most of their time learning in the workplace while being supported by a local college or specialist training provider to gain an industry recognised qualification.

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Blair Drummond Smiddy Farm Shop fresh counter manager Fraser Sivewright said: “What Marc has done is just awe-inspiring – he really is the model butcher and I now lean on him as a senior colleague.

“I am immensely proud of Marc, his values and everything he brings to his work and the tremendous personal growth he has already achieved.”

Craft Skills Scotland Assessor Sarah Frew said: “Marc is a breath of fresh air, so confident and knowledgeable. He has such a drive and passion for the industry, nothing holds him back.”

The winner of the Modern Apprentice of the Year Level 5 category will be revealed during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which takes place from March 4 to 8.

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