Scottish butchery talent celebrated at national industry awards

Scottish butchery talent celebrated at national industry awards

Six butchers from across Scotland have been recognised for their progression at the Scottish Craft Butchers Training Awards 2022.

James Black of J & W Aitken picked up the SVQ Level 3 Modern Apprentice of the Year Award.

Alloa apprentice James Black among those who lifted a national award. James 22, joined J & W Aitken butchers in Alloa five years ago and his hard work and determination during his studies have helped single him out for the coveted Scottish Craft Butchers SVQ Level 3 Modern Apprentice Of The Year Award 2022.

Beating apprentice butchers from all over Scotland brought James close to tears as he collected his trophy at a recent awards lunch.

“It was a surreal moment when they announced my name,” he said. “To be a shortlisted finalist alongside a raft of impressive nominees from all over Scotland was an honour in itself – to win the award is the biggest achievement of my life. I’m absolutely thrilled – it’s just incredible.”

“I’ve been in love with the butcher’s trade since I was a boy and I used to visit my dad’s friend’s shop and watch him work,” said James.

“When I completed my college course in electrical installation in 2017 a job came up at Aitkens and I jumped at it – that was really what I wanted to do with my life, and I wasn’t going to miss the chance to become a butcher.”

A. K. Stoddart’s Wilson Hendry lifted the Training Mentor of the Year Award.

Also taking home a national trophy was a Broxburn butcher who has spent years helping to train the next generation for the industry. Wilson Hendry (54), lifted the Training Mentor of the Year Award.

Hendry is a training and quality manager with A. K. Stoddart in Broxburn, leading a team of traders all keen to support, mentor and educate current and new employees within the 60 strong workforce.

Nominated by one of his colleagues at meat wholesalers A. K. Stoddart, Hendry expressed shock and delight at securing the coveted accolade for his mentoring work with apprentice butchers – a role he described as “hugely rewarding”.

“It’s so rewarding to pass on the skills of the trade to those tasked with taking the meat industry forward and I like to think that I educate them as well as train them for the task ahead,” he said.

Other awards presented at the recent ceremony included:

  • SVQ Level 2 Modern Apprentice of the Year – Ryan Gow, John Munro Ltd, Dingwall
  • Training Partner of the Year – Sean Lewis and Ryan King, Mitchell’s of Erskine, Paisley
  • Extra Mile Award – Mark Boyd, Bryan Beveridge Quality Butchers, Dunfermline.

In safe hands

Gordon King, executive manager of Scottish Craft Butchers, said mentors of Wilson’s calibre were “vital” to the industry: “Wilson is playing a key role in securing the next generation of butchers,” he said. “The experience and knowledge passed on by skilled professionals like Wilson ensures that the future of the meat industry and the quality of our butchers is in safe hands.”

Gordon praised the “outstanding commitment and talent” of the award-winning apprentices – just two of more than 300 apprentices currently training within the industry.

“These annual Training Awards turn the spotlight on the amazing work going on within the industry to encourage and support our next generation of qualified butchers,” he said. “We received nominations from every corner of Scotland of an exceptionally high level and winners exemplify the very best talent out there.”

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