Stockperson - Level 2 Apprenticeship (Ref: 1485247 )

Salary: £111.00 (30hrs x £3.70)Closing Date: 28 Jan 2019Hours: 30 hours - You will be required to work early morning, late evenings and weekends on occasion

 Matfen Home Farms, Matfen, Northumberland

Matfen Home Farms is a family business partnership operated by Sir Hugh Blackett, Lady Blackett and their son Henry Blackett.

Based from the Matfen Estate Office, Matfen Home Farms Partnership brings together trading activities across the Matfen Estate including:


o    Farming;

o    Woodlands;

o    Residential property lettings;

The Partnership runs a mixed farming business managed centrally by an Estate Manager. The operation includes around 1000acres of cultivated arable crops including wheat, barley and oilseed rape while Permanent Pasture provides grazing for a flock of 1200 ewes under the watchful eye of a Farm Manager and Farm Worker. Surplus pasture is sold under seasonal herbage agreements. As far as is possible fencing and general maintenance work is undertaken in-house. The Partnership will enter a Mid-Tier Stewardship scheme from 1st January 2019 ensuring the Estate is maintained in an environmentally sensitive manner providing habitats for a range of flora and fauna in harmony with the agricultural operations. Around 500acres of woodlands are managed by the Partnership and supply Roundwood timber, which gets processed into chip for the woodchip boilers across the Estate. The Partnership also owns and manages a number of cottages and houses on the Estate.


Sheep work

Carry out effective care to the flock by looking as necessary and dealing with problems as they arise. Preventing onset of disease and other issues by following flock health plan

  • Ewe and Ram husbandry
  • Tagging,
  • Recognising and treating sheep illnesses, foot care
  • Preventative care,
  • Assist in shearing and fleece wrapping
  • Feeding; bedding
  • Flock and lamb vaccination and worming;
  • Lambing; rearing and hand feeding as necessary
  • Castration and ringing lambs,
  • Feeding ewes and lambs and bedding when housed


Cattle work

While there is not presently a cattle herd in the Partnership it may become part of the future strategy and as such there is potential that this will be incorporated in due course


Pasture management

The majority of grazing on the Estate is on Very Low Input Permanent Pasture and as such requires careful management to optimise performance within the constraints. This includes targeted weed and pest control as well as monitoring of nutrient levels and application of targeted remediation as appropriate. The apprentice would be involved in all elements of this management strategy.

Machinery and Arable work

The Estate works with a range of agricultural contractors to produce winter feed and bedding along with other pasture inputs such as re-seeding and sowing. Contract partners are also on-board for the arable enterprise. All of these operations have, at times, a demand for additional labour and support so the Apprentice would be asked at times to assist, depending on workload and skills acquired or indeed required.

Woodland management

The woodland on the Estate is managed under a long-term programme including general maintenance, thinning and replanting. The woodland is managed as a habitat for a range of species with a particular focus on encouraging Red Squirrels. The Apprentice will be involved in various aspects of woodland and tree management across the Estate. A large amount of the timber produced is used to fuel the Estate’s biomass boilers and a range of log burning fires, all of which the Apprentice would support with.

General Agricultural Maintenance duties

The Apprentice will support the team and learn a range of skills while carrying out general agricultural maintenance including:

  • Fencing, stone walling and other boundaries
  • Repairs to roads, tracks and other access routes
  • Repairs to buildings, equipment and machinery

Management and Record Keeping

One of the key challenges of a large modern farm is to ensure the records for livestock, pasture management and other regulated areas are kept up to date, accurate and accessible. The apprentice would be required to learn and develop the skillset to manage these records, supporting the Farm Manager and in time developing processes to improve and digitise records.

Skills required:

  • Extremely reliable
  • Basic understanding of animal husbandry
  • Able to drive tractors and operate basic agricultural machinery
  • IT skills including Desktop and Tablet
  • Good timekeeping skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to undertake heavy physical work and work in all weathers
  • Able to work under pressure and on own initiative
  • Good attention to detail

 Previous experience working on a farm would be advantageous but not essential

Personal qualities:

  • Professional approach
  • Strong work ethic
  • Ability to work with a diverse team
  • Good communication skills
  • Flexibility
  • Must have the ability to adapt to changes in working practices.
  • Initiative Good organisational and time management skills
  • Trustworthy
  • Team Player

Qualifications required: GCSE Grade A-C in Maths and English (or equivalent). Functional skills will be undertaken at College by applicants without this qualification.

Future prospects: Progression to level 3 Crop Technician, Full time employment

Reality check:

  • Working in all weathers.
  • Because of the location of the farms you will need to be able to drive and have your own transport.
  • You will also be required to attend our Kirkley Hall Campus in Ponteland one day a week.
  • Longer working hours will be required at busier times of year i.e. Lambing/Silage/Harvest time.
  • You will be required to do an initial assessment and diagnostic in Maths, English and ICT before you start your apprenticeship.

    Important Information: Successful candidates will be required to attend a pre-screen interview prior to being put forward to the employer.

To apply for this vacancy, please click on the link below:


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