QMS urges school leavers to take up butchery
Quality Meat Scotland and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) are calling on young people to consider the apprenticeship and career opportunities offered by craft butchery.
As school leavers review their options, Gordon Wallace, Quality Meat Scotland board member and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) trainer in the hospitality and leisure faculty of the City of Glasgow College, said: “Lockdown has provided that rare resource – time – to reflect on how much we depend on the skills, tenacity and commitment of the key crafts and industry that populate our farm to fork food chain, keeping us well-nourished.
“Amongst those presently making their mark are our craft butchers and my hope is that they, in turn are creating a positive impression on our school leavers. There may never be a better time to attract newcomers into the industry. While physically and mentally demanding and not for the feint hearted, craft butchery is a rewarding and fulfilling career and the apprenticeship training instils skills for life.”
“Training, upskilling, work-based learning and apprenticeships will have a crucial role to play as we move towards economic recovery and we will be adapting to ensure that skills and education are delivered in an innovative way and making the most of technology and digital where it works.”
Apprenticeships allow young people to earn while they learn and, in butchery, placements could be in a small retail shop up to a large processor. As well as the core craft knife skills, the training includes how to be creative with cuts and respond to consumer demand, the importance of provenance and traceability, customer service skills and meeting the practical and legislative demands of state-of-the-art craft butchery operations.
The red meat industry has continued to operate throughout the pandemic, albeit in a different way, and businesses are telling us there will be apprenticeship opportunities going forward, according to Gerry McBride, strategic relations manager for food and drink at Skills Development Scotland.
“Many young people will be feeling anxious about their future and finding a job during an economic recession is harder than any other time,” said McBride. “Training, upskilling, work-based learning and apprenticeships will have a crucial role to play as we move towards economic recovery and we will be adapting to ensure that skills and education are delivered in an innovative way and making the most of technology and digital where it works. I would urge young people to look at the apprenticeships offered in butchery and the variety and reward of working in the trade.”