Four of our talented butchery apprentices showed off their skills and creative flair when competing at the WorldSkills UK butchery qualifying round.

The apprentices, Simon Davis (SW and KJ Morris, Stoke-on-Trent), Richard Silverman (The Lambing Shed Farm Shop, Knutsford), Joe Crawford (Cheerbrooks Farm Shop, Nantwich) and Emily Barber (Hopkinsons of Lymm) held their own against other regional candidates, producing fabulous products and earning praise from the judges.

Although they did not qualify for the WorldSkills UK national final at The Skills Show (held last week) our candidates all felt that they had gained from the experience and are keen to continue their training.

Simon, Richard and Joe, accompanied by Reaseheath’s Master Butcher Gary Evans and Julie Bent, Commercial Development Co-Ordinator for our Food Centre, competed at Leeds City College while Emily went to Cambrian Training in Welshpool for her qualifying round. Again, she was supported by Gary Evans.

The candidates were marked on two tasks: correctly cutting a topside of beef, following the natural seams, to produce shop window products and creating a visually exciting barbecue display using chicken, topside of beef, shoulder of lamb and boneless loin of pork.

Said Julie: “This was a real test of our apprentices’ application and competitiveness. It was a really big learning curve, as they were all competing for the first time, but to their credit they held their own, came up with some excellent product ideas and conducted themselves really well. In the end they were just pipped by more experienced competitors.”

The apprentices, who are typically employed by high street butchers’ shops and artisan farm shops, are studying on our new Level 2 Butchery Standard. These programmes have been redeveloped to ensure they meet employers’ needs and are supported by FDQ (Food and Drink Qualifications), the UK’s only specialist awarding organisation for the food and drink industry.

As well as completing a portfolio of work, the apprentices have to prove their knowledge, practical knife skills and their ability to relate to and advise customers. On completion they receive a recognised qualification plus automatic membership of the Institute of Meat, the professional body for people who work in the meat industry.

The apprentices attend college weekly for 15 weeks and extend their practical skills in our dedicated butchery department.

Click here for more information on the apprenticeships we offer.