Reaseheath College in Cheshire has become the first training provider in the north west to offer redesigned, employer focused qualifications for butchery apprentices.

The Level 2 and Level 3 Butchery Apprenticeships have been redeveloped to new standards by a group of employers supported by FDQ (Food and Drink Qualifications), the UK’s only specialist awarding organisation for the food and drink industry. FDQ has tested the training programmes for quality assurance and they are being used as an example of good practice for other apprenticeship standards.

The new standards are among 150 revamped training programmes recently launched by the government. As well as completing a portfolio of work, the butchery apprentices will have to prove their knowledge, practical knife skills and their ability to relate to and advise customers. On completion they will receive a recognised qualification plus automatic membership of the Institute of Meat, the professional body for people who work in the meat industry.

Speaking at an induction day for the first group to enrol onto the new apprenticeships, FDQ Chief Executive Terry Fennell said: “Reaseheath College should be congratulated for the way it has embraced these brand new programmes and is pioneering them throughout the north west.

“This has been a huge step towards providing recognised, credible qualifications which answer the requirements of employers. These new apprenticeships have restored many of the traditional ‘craft and mastery’ skills that have been long associated with butchery.

“The apprentices and their employers will benefit from the excellent facilities and the on and off- the-job training services which Reaseheath provides. We are delighted that employers from throughout the region have taken up this exciting opportunity to train the next generation of butchers.”

John Major of Grants Butchers, Church Minshall, who had signed up an apprentice, said: “These new training programmes are good for apprentices because they are recognised throughout the industry and great for businesses because they ensure staff continuity.”

Simon Kilby of Hopkinsons of Lymm, who has two apprentices on the programme, added: “By giving employers more input we have a more practical qualification which is tailormade to our requirements and will, without doubt, expand jobs opportunities within the local community.

“We are a high street butchers who pride ourselves on selling local produce to local consumers. These new apprenticeships will enable us to maintain our traditional approach while continuing to improve the quality of our service.”

Representatives of Cheerbrook Farm Shop, Nantwich, Manor Farm Butchers, Worcester, Edmonston’s Family Butchers, Uttoxeter, and The Lambing Shed Farm Shop, Knutsford, were also present.

Reaseheath’s Head of Apprenticeships, Sharon Yates, said: “It was great to see so many employers and staff at the launch of our new butchery apprenticeships. We welcome this opportunity to work even more closely with employers to ensure that our training programmes really meet their needs. “

There are current vacancies for butchery apprentices with H. Clelow, Nantwich, the Hollies Farm Shop, Little Budworth and Cherrington Butchers (Shrewsbury). Reaseheath Training is also working with the Worcester apprenticeship service to recruit a butchery apprentice in that area.

For further details on these and other apprenticeships contact Reaseheath Training on 01270 613221 /