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Is There a Credible Alternative to University?

River Cottage Rising Star 2013 Sam Lomas speaks on Radio 5 Live to discuss why he chose to do an apprenticeship over university, breaking down pigs and being part of Jamie Oliver's FoodTube.

Q) Did you consider university?

A) Absolutely university was an option for me, however when I heard about the River Cottage Young Chef Apprenticeship Scheme it seemed to represent the perfect opportunity.

Q) What are you doing at River Cottage?

A) I’m completing a City & Guild’s Diploma in Professional Cookery. Basically I get to learn all about classic food preparation and cooking techniques but because it’s with River Cottage, I also get to understand about food and environmental sustainability.

Q) What does the apprenticeship involve?

A) You get to learn a large variety of skills such as bakery, charcuterie and butchery. In fact one of the first jobs I was asked to do involved breaking down a pig!

Q) What type of job could this lead to? What could you be doing in five years’ time?

A) There are many options open to me because I have got to work in lots of different areas, For example, I have had the opportunity to film videos for food tube, write blogs and be interviewed by journalists. This has all been alongside my main job which is learning and working in the kitchen. This qualification could help me to establish myself as a chef, but at the moment I am interested in ethical food campaigning.

Q) What advice would you give to those considering an apprenticeship?

A) Apprenticeships offer workplace experience and a great education. They are a great stepping stone onto the career ladder and enable people to progress through the ranks. I would advise anyone who is interested in food and sustainability to join the River Cottage apprenticeship scheme; it has opened up so many doors for me. It has been a life changing opportunity.

There are many professional qualifications at River Cottage. You can study an apprenticeship to gain a qualification in professional cookery level 1, professional cookery level 2, professional cookery level 3, or study food and beverage service to get the best start to a career in Restaurant Management.

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