The Charcuterie Apprentice

About the Project

Meat and sausage manufacturer Charcuterie teamed up with their local primary school to challenge around 50 primary seven pupils to set up their own companies and run a profitable business. The pupils set up mini companies and Charcuterie set them a challenge: to develop a new sausage, pizza or meat coating that would fit into their existing range. The task aimed to expand pupils knowledge in areas like new product development, marketing, packaging, finance and develop an understanding of the food chain.

This was a stimulating and creative experience for the children. They really rose to the challenge, developing a lot of skills and gaining and applying knowledge in the process.

Kay McIntosh and Liz Orr, teachers from Milngavie Primary School

Project Partners, Aims and Objectives

  • Provide pupils with real life experiences and active engagement with the food and drinks industry
  • Highlight a range of rewarding career opportunities within the food and drinks industry
  • Make connections between learning at school and the world of work
  • Charcuterie saw this project as an opportunity to explain the importance of the co-operative approach that takes raw materials right through to retail and highlighting the importance of traceability of food.
  • Supporting the delivery of the Curriculum for Excellence
  • Using and enhancing pupil skills
  • Delivering an enterprise activity

Outcome

  • The event culminated in the pupils presenting their new product ideas and business journeys, click here to view the presentations. As a result pupils learned team working skills, built their confidence and were given a real life experience and active engagement with the food industry.
  • This project was multifaceted – the pupils also got a perspective of the whole food chain – from farm to fork by visiting a farm, a local supermarket and a butcher.
  • The pupils were taught about the many careers on offer in the food industry and the skills needed to succeed. As a result, a fifth of all pupils said that they would like to work in the food industry.
  • Charcuterie not only got new product ideas, but were inspired to work with other schools in their area.
  • The school was highly commended during a recent quality inspection which has inspired them to find new and enterprising ways of working with industry.

How we did it

Charcuterie's Managing Director, Malcolm Morrison, launched the project and provided an outline of the company, their product range and customers. Other invited speakers explained about finance and the importance of business plans, marketing and the need for a unique selling point and finally, advertising and design.

Nine pupil micro-businesses were formed to tackle the challenge and five different were issued for each of the businesses. The pupils were invited to apply in writing for these posts before interviews for the posts were conducted.

Pupil understanding of product ranges and pricing was enhanced by a trip to their local Tesco store where they considered possible market opportunities, ingredients and price points. This was followed by a visit to Old Mains Farm were the farmer explained aspects of rearing cattle.

The partnership culminated in a fun BBC 'The Apprentice' style event, attended by parents, where each 'company' made presentations to Malcolm about their company, brand, approach to the task and the outcomes of their research and the product they developed. The winning team were MFG with their pork belly creation.

What we learned

Career information – The pupils gained an awareness of the degree of education and skill needed to be managing director of a company.

How the real world works – by engaging with people directly working in the field, pupils confidence was built upon and they got a real understanding of potential career routes .

Not to jump to conclusions - On the day of the trip to Tesco, the store were sold out of pork belly and the children thought they had spotted a gap in the market!

What next?

Facilities - Some primary schools have limited cooking facilities so getting the children to test their recipes at home also helps involves parents and families

Transition - This kind of project could be an ideal primary secondary transition project where pupils will have opportunities to learn about the resources and opportunities they can expect to encounter and use when they move to the secondary school. Running this as a P7 project means they are ready to move on and it prepares them for wider horizons.

Ambitious – This has made the school as a whole more ambitious about engaging industry and using real life experiences in the class room.