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Luke Dorking 0 5

Chocolate factory apprentice Luke features on Channel 4 TV show

An apprenticeship with York Cocoa Works saw Luke Dorking enjoy a taste of fame when he found himself featuring in a Channel 4 TV show.

It might sound like a Roald Dahl novel, but Luke is literally spending four days a week of his Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship with York College in a chocolate factory.

The ex-Huntington School pupil has also been handed the job title of Head of Outside Events, which saw him manning the Castlegate-based company’s hot chocolate stall at York’s Christmas Market during the festive period.

And it was in that role that Luke appeared on the nation’s TV screens in a special Christmas edition of the programme Matt Baker: Travels with Mum and Dad.

Luke, 20, was filmed explaining and demonstrating to Matt the traditional methods York Cocoa Works employ to make their hot chocolate as part of the documentary-style series that sees the former Blue Peter, Countryfile and One Show presenter relive old memories and enjoy new ones while touring around the North-East region with his parents.

The footage is shown towards the end of the second episode in the second series of the show and can still be viewed here

Recalling the experience, Luke said: “About a month before, Sophie (Jewett), the Managing Director and Owner (of York Cocoa Works), had approached me and said that somebody from Channel 4 was going to film us at the Christmas Market. I later found out it was going to be Matt Baker, which was quite stressful because he’s quite a big name.

“He came to the stall with his Mum and Dad and I introduced them to how we make the hot chocolate, using an older method from South America. We talked about that for a little bit and the origins of the beans. He was with me for more than half-an-hour and was very nice.”

Luke demonstrated on TV how York Cocoa Works make their hot chocolate using traditional methods from South America

Whilst one way of securing an apprenticeship is to check the College website and apply for one of our advertised vacancies, Luke had already been working at York Cocoa Works for two years when the company decided they wanted to help him develop new skills by studying a Level 3 course.

“Sophie asked if I’d like to do an apprenticeship with the company and College because she knew that business admin was my sort of thing,” Luke explained. “I did Business at GCSE and A Level at Huntington and I’ve always enjoyed it.

“I get that from my Dad and it was always something we talked about when I was growing up. I was always into numbers especially, as well as data analysis, so business admin works for me.”

Luke still feels he is getting a strong overview of all facets of the company, though, adding: “I’m doing the business admin in the factory when it’s there to be done because that’s my apprenticeship but, because I’m working for a small company, sometimes I’m working in lots of different departments and as a barista or at events, and what I learn at College complements what I then do in the workplace a lot and transfers over.

“One of the last topics we did, we were learning about health and safety and that certainly applies to my job when I’m doing things like food prep. I’m now food safety certified and a lot of what we’d learned cropped up with that.

“We also learn about the importance of customers and their safety and that can be applied to being inside the factory, because it can be an unsafe environment.”

Matt Baker was visiting York with his parents for the documentary-style show

Luke also believes the tuition he receives in College is preparing him for the new role that he will be given within the company at the end of his apprenticeship this spring.

“I’ll become Sales Manager at York Cocoa Works when I finish my apprenticeship,” he said. “I know the company very well now and know every department and how they function, so I’m in a good position to inform people about the process of how the chocolate is made and sell it.

“I’ll be looking to push our production rates higher, so there’s more chocolate for me to sell and I’ve already gone out to a few local cafes to speak to them about buying our hot chocolate and it’s the route I want to go down. In College, we learn about stakeholder and shareholder management, so there’s correlations with the job I’ll eventually be doing because I’ve just been doing a task about how we, as apprentices, need to speak to customers and people with an interest in the business’ performance.

“It was all about whether the best approach is to email them, call them or speak to them in person. I believe, when you’re going to meet a customer for the first time, you should always do it face-to-face, because it’s the best way to make a first impression.”

Weighing up whether to follow an A Level or Apprenticeship pathway, meanwhile, can often be a dilemma for anybody considering their post-16 options but, having sampled both, Luke is in an ideal position to offer his opinion.

“I learnt a lot with my A Levels and thought they were more stress-free, because you’re younger and not having to work as well, but I think the apprenticeship is better in terms of being able to learn while I’m working,” he reasoned. “I’m also getting paid while I’m learning and working as well, which is a bonus.

“As much as I love numbers, I actually prefer to put them to use in a workplace rather than education, so I think being in College once a week and at work for the other four days works out better for me.”

To learn more about our Business Administration Apprenticeship Level 3 course, please click here

For a list of our current apprenticeship vacancies, please click here

For more general information on apprenticeships, please click here

To learn more about York Cocoa Works, please click here