In our next Sector Spotlight on the Food and Drink sector, we hear from Glynis Leslie who is the owner of Orkney Isles Preserves. On leaving school she studied languages in Aberdeen including French, German and a bit of Spanish. She worked in Germany, but hated city life and was very homesick. Eventually she gave up her course to come home to Shapinsay and work for her folks, who ran a shop and haulage business.
Glynis went on to marry and start a family. Looking for something for herself that would fit in with family life, she started making jams and chutneys for the local craft shop and since then the business has grown.
Can you describe a typical day in your role as owner of Orkney Isles Preserves?
A typical day would include: Preparing veg for chutneys; boiling jams; potting and labelling; washing pots and general cleaning.
I will also check emails for orders; check stock and order in products. There will also be tasks relating to invoicing; printing labels and making up orders.
How did you end up in this role?
I never intended this to be my job. On leaving school I studied languages in Aberdeen - French, German and a bit of Spanish. While working in Germany we visited Strasbourg. As we passed by the European Parliament my friend said, “we could work there someday.” Well, that didn’t go to plan.
I hated city life and was very homesick. Eventually, I gave up my course to come home to Shapinsay and work for my folks, who ran a shop and haulage business. I then went on to marry, have two children and live on a farm. Life was busy but I always wanted to do something for myself that would fit in with family and farm life. I started making jams and chutneys in a small way for the local craft shop and as the business grew we went on to renovate the bothy, which is now my jam factory. I employ two girls so I have more time to be a Granny, which is the best job in the world.
What is the best thing about your job?
Being my own boss and having the freedom to be flexible about my hours.
I enjoy meeting folk at Shows and Fairs. I feel proud to fly the flag for Orkney along with the other Food and Drink producers.
I also enjoy designing new labels and trying out new products, often collaborating with other Orkney Food and Drink producers.
It’s hard work but very satisfying to run my own business.
What is the worst thing about your job?
Chopping onions and chillies. Peeling garlic.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Working closely with other folk as a team. Lynsey has worked for me for almost 20 years and Joanna three years.
I need to keep up with Hygiene and Trading standards regulations.
I am very particular about my labels and product quality.
What qualifications do you have?
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
I would advise young folk to find a job they enjoy and be open to changing career path, adapting to their situation. Above all find a job that gives you satisfaction and makes you happy.
The food sector offers many different jobs but all have the same end goal - to produce great quality food.
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