This month in-Cumbria is profiling some of the county’s young entrepreneurs, top employees and stars of the future

Connor Carrick, at just 22 years old, has already made a significant impact in the local butchery industry. He started his journey at Cranstons in Penrith in 2015 as a part-time student working weekends in the fruit and vegetable section. Over the years, his dedication and passion led him to secure an apprenticeship there, where he learned the art of butchery under the guidance of experienced mentors.

When did you start in the role/set up the business?

My journey started in 2015 when I took on a part-time role working weekends in the fruit and veg section at Cranstons. Back then, it was just a student job, and little did I know the incredible path it would set me on. The world of butchery captivated me, and after two years of dedicated work, I was fortunate enough to secure an apprenticeship in butchery. That's when my formal training in butchery began, and from that point on, I was hooked!

Fast forward to 2023, and I've reached another milestone. I was promoted to the position of supervisor, which has been an exciting step forward in my career. It's an honour to take on more responsibility and contribute to the growth of the business. Looking back, I'm grateful for every step of this journey – from those initial weekends to becoming a supervisor, each experience has shaped me into the passionate butcher I am today.

How does being a young person impact on your work?

Being a young person in the world of butchery certainly comes with its own set of dynamics, both positive and challenging. My youth brings a fresh perspective to the traditional art of butchery. In an industry deeply rooted in tradition, I've been able to introduce ideas that resonate with a younger generation of customers.

However, being a young butcher sometimes leads to scepticism from certain customers. On occasion, there's a perception that my age might correlate with a lack of experience or knowledge. I recall an instance when a customer was hesitant to take advice from me on choosing the right cut, assuming that I might not have the expertise. In such situations, I take it as an opportunity to showcase my skills and understanding, often surprising them with my level of expertise and commitment to the craft.

In essence, while my youth might occasionally be met with scepticism, I see it as a chance to prove my capabilities and bridge the gap between traditional values and contemporary approaches in the world of butchery.

Where/how have you learnt your skills?

Much of my learning came from hands-on experience and mentorship.
David Sutton, Cranstons' master butcher, became my mentor during this journey. His guidance and expertise provided me with invaluable insights into the art of butchery.

Also, I used to spend two days a week at our traditional butcher’s shop on King Street in Penrith. As the only trained butcher in the shop I had to manage everything independently. This practical training taught me valuable skills, from precise cutting techniques to managing a shop effectively.

What motivates you in your working life?

One of my biggest motivations is the pride I take in maintaining the quality and presentation of the meat counter. Every piece I prepare is a reflection of my commitment to my craft.

At the moment I am really excited about the Food Hall refurbishment project which starts in early September.

What are your ambitions - both in work and life?

At this point in my life, I'm focusing on building a strong foundation. I've already taken a significant step by moving out at a young age and establishing my own space. Staying in Cumbria is important to me; it's where I have my roots and where I feel strong ties to the area. While I'm currently enjoying being 22 and embracing the freedom it brings, I look forward to the possibility of building a family of my own someday.

I haven't laid out a comprehensive life plan like some people might have by the time they're 22. But that doesn't bother me. I believe life is a journey, and I'm open to exploring opportunities and adapting to whatever comes my way. I'm not worried about having it all figured out at this point – I'm just focused on living my best life and making the most of each experience.

Professionally, my ambition is to keep moving up the ranks within the company. I'm dedicated to improving my skills and contributing to the success of Cranstons as I continue to gain experience and take on more responsibilities. My aim is to make a meaningful impact on the business.

Who do you admire in the business world?

Gordon Ramsay is someone I look up to. His culinary achievements and unrelenting drive are truly inspiring.

Do you have a role model?

I'd have to say my parents. Their work ethic, values, and support have shaped me into the person I am today.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years’ time?

In a decade, I envision myself perhaps taking charge of a Cranstons shop, maybe in a new location if there's an opportunity? I would like to continue to climb up the ranks within the company, ensuring that the principles of quality and customer service are upheld.

What would your advice be to other young people setting out on their career?

My advice would be to get into the workforce as soon as possible. Apprenticeships are invaluable opportunities that provide practical skills and knowledge. Show up to work with pride, embrace a strong work ethic, and always be eager to learn. Remember, age shouldn't define your capabilities; it's your passion and dedication that truly matter.