YOUNGSTERS are being offered a golden ticket to a career in food production after a chocolate factory opened in Barnsley yesterday.

JJA Snack on Innovation Way, Redbrook contains an advanced manufacturing line designed by Siemens which, it is hoped, will inspire the next generation of chocolatiers.

Investors in the company and staff from Outwood Academy Shafton were invited to tour the factory and make their own chocolate, as the company prepares to open their doors to locals to teach them about the manufacturing process.

Managing director, Jamie Ashpole, told the Chronicle: “This is just the first part of it all - obviously we’ve got the equipment and we’ve got the working factory in, we now need to make sure that we keep the engagement with the kids.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone from our sponsors, our partners to the schools in our area.”

Visitors were shown the process of making chocolate by Jamie’s twin 13-year-old children, Danny and Ellie Ashpole, who have been working with their dad to learn about manufacturing.

They told the Chronicle: “It feels great inspiring kids to make their own chocolate.

“But it’s not been shared yet so only a few of our friends know about it.

“We were nervous showing it off, but it’s exciting and important.”

Jamie explained that the facility essentially functions as a shrunk-down version of the same factories used by Mars, Nestle and Cadbury.

From this location they can produce milk, dark and white chocolate products, which are on sale through their website.

“We are going to expand our product range over time,” he added.

“So at the moment we’re just doing bars and have launched some lollies.

“We’re always developing our product range and it’ll be seasonal, so over the next year we’ll be building.”