Award-winning café and deli, Latimer’s Seafood, is training the next generation of the region’s seafood experts. Could it be you?

An award-winning North East seafood retailer is looking to recruit new talent to its apprenticeship programme and growing team of 27 staff.

Family-run Latimer’s Seafood Deli & Cafe in Whitburn, South Tyneside has since earned a string of accolades including Fishmonger of the Year at the Farm Shop & Deli Awards and BBC Radio 4 Best Local Retailer. It has also been shortlisted three times already in national awards this year including the Independent Retailer of the Year category of the Fishing News Awards 2018.

The busy seafront café, deli and click & collect service manned by a team of 27 staff holds regular events such as a Supper Club, which features food cooked by Simon Lilley, Master Chef of Great Britain.

Owners Ailsa and Robert Latimer are looking for a team leader, a fishmonger assistant, a café assistant and a café apprentice to help them drive the thriving business forward.

Robert, is third generation Whitburn fishing stock, trained as a lobster and crab pot fisherman and salmon farmer before setting up Latimers, said: “The North East produces some of the best seafood in the UK and the area has a rich fishing heritage, which we are passionate about supporting. Our apprenticeship programme is aimed at passing on our specialist knowledge and expertise to the next generation, ensuring that these skills don’t die out, while also supporting local producers.

“Every member of our growing team of 27 staff is trained by us and each has the opportunity to help out in all areas of the business, from the café to the deli. Each role is integral to our success, with a love of seafood, a passion to learn and good work ethic being essential.”  

Robert hauled his crab, lobster and langoustine creels up for the last time on the Isle of Luing, on the west coast of Scotland and headed back home to Whitburn in 2002 where he started selling shellfish out of the back of the family garage and petrol station.

Chloe Swinhoe, 16, from Sunderland, who joined team as a fishmonger and shop assistant in November last year, said:

“Since joining the team and starting my apprenticeship at Latimer’s Seafood, I have learned so much about the fishing and the seafood industry in the North East. Robert and Ailsa make sure that we are fully supported and that we also have the chance to visit the fishing quays and local the fisherman who supply us.

“Serving fresh quality seafood is really important to us, with 90 per cent being locally sourced, which is brilliant for the local industry and also means that customer’s are served with the best seafood.”

Ailsa Latimer said: “Our apprenticeship programme allows us to train and teach those with a passion for working in the seafood industry, where they will be given invaluable skills, including how to clean and prepare seafood and knowledge of each of the different varieties of fish as well as essential customer service skills. It is an incredibly skilled job, with apprenticeships lasting around 16 months. We are also work closely with the college’s such as Newcastle College and Gateshead College to ensure we offer the right support for our apprentices to successfully complete all aspects of their apprenticeship.”

Gabrielle McCririck, 25, from Whitburn, who has been an employee of Latimer’s for five years, completed her apprenticeship and joined the business full time. She said: ‘I was a café assistant but I now also work in the shop. Even after completing my apprenticeship, which was fantastic, I’m still learning to this day new skills particularly relating to preparing the lobsters, crabs and the different varieties of fish.

“I owe everything to Ailsa and Robert. I’ve been able to learn to drive, buy a car and I’ve recently moved into a house with my boyfriend, none of which would’ve been possible without the solid and secure job I’ve have had at Latimer’s. Fish mongering is an art and I’m so proud to be able to carry on this tradition, which is a huge part of our history in the North East.’

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