Young Butcher Talk by Mike Lewis

When I left school, I just wanted to get out working and earning money, so I got a job in a local factory. After a few years, I started to think that factory life wasn't really for me.

I had always been interested in the butchery industry, as my great uncle was a butcher in the local meat market. I didn't see any opportunity to get into the industry, but after a succession of factory jobs and other jobs that didn't really capture my imagination, I was given the opportunity to come and work and learn at Vaughan's Family Butchers.

I have now worked at here for two-and-a-half years. In that time, I have achieved my NVQ Level 2 in Butchery Retail and will be starting Level 3 after Christmas with the Cambrian Training Company.

Vaughan's Family Butchers has a great reputation and has won numerous awards, including MTJ's Welsh Butcher's Shop of the Year 2009, and it was also a finalist this year. I have entered competitions and have had some success in the sausage and burger categories. I enjoy creating new flavours and ways to improve what we already do in the shop.

One of the things I enjoy most is serving customers, old and new, and dealing with any questions. In my opinion, the most challenging problem facing the butchery industry is competition from the supermarkets, but I also feel that a lot people are coming back to the traditional butcher's shop. We are finding that customers are becoming aware of the standards of meat and do not mind paying a bit more money in the local butcher's shop because they know they are going to get a good-quality meat. I only wish I had joined the trade earlier.

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