Young Butcher Talk

As the first girl to do this column, there's a lot at stake. I've just turned 18 and have been working in the family business for the past 18 months. I left school in June 2008 with 11 GCSEs and didn't know what to do with myself. I worked in various office and retail outlets and, while I enjoyed the selling aspect, I felt that it wasn't hands-on enough for me. So I started helping out at the shop, making the sausage rolls. Then I progressed to a couple of days a week alongside a full-time catering course.

I found it so interesting, but it was rather difficult being 5'2", lifting the carcases was a challenge. But I've overcome this with the help of my Dad.

I then used my cooking experience to think of different variations on the classic pork sausage. After a few months' convincing by others, I took the plunge to see if I could cut it and entered the Bpex roadshow competition with my classic, traditional and breakfast sausages. I won three gold awards with 98 points with two out of three of my entered products, so I decided to enter the National Supreme Product Championship in March. Once again, I was awarded gold for my speciality breakfast sausage. Later I got a call from the local newspaper, who wanted a photo and a write-up about my successes and I was even mentioned on BBC West Midlands news.

Because I've enjoyed being a butcher so much, I've decided to start an apprenticeship with M.E.A.T Ipswich. I've found butchery hard work, yet rewarding and a positive career move. It's not just a skill in cutting meat, but teaches me business and customer-facing skills. So I would encourage many other young men and women to join in.

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