Retail butcher scoops apprenticeship award

A specialist meat and fine foods business was honoured as the UK’s Medium Employer of the Year before Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at an apprenticeships awards ceremony last week.

Walter Smith Fine Foods, based in Birmingham, was revealed as the Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies’ Medium Employer of the Year 2013 at the National Apprenticeship Awards, also in Birmingham.

Walter Smith, a retail butchery chain, was given recognition in light of its commitment to developing local young people through apprenticeships. The company has been around since 1885 and has a track record of training young butchers, taking on 50 in the past five years.

The awards are organised by the National Apprenticeship Service and reward excellence in businesses that grow their own talent with apprentices, as well as rewarding apprentices who make a great contribution to their workplaces.

Human resources director Paul Cadman said: “We are hugely keen to encourage young people to enter this interesting and challenging sector. We are now working on further industry projects and initiatives, supported by the Meat Training Council, which if approved will enable us to recruit and train apprentices for other independent butchers and fine food retailers. We hope this will lead to a further 250 apprentices and bring a much-needed boost to high streets over the next four years.”

Clegg, meanwhile, claimed he was committed to making sure young people today got the opportunities they needed to realise their full potential, which he said was necessary to help the economy recover.

“Since 2010, we have created 1.5m new apprenticeships but none of that would have been possible without events like this and the support of businesses who go that extra mile to help our apprentices progress,” he added.

“I was delighted to be able to meet so many of our young apprentices and businesses from across England at the Apprenticeship Awards tonight – it is the drive and ambition that we celebrated here that will, in the years ahead, help our country and its people thrive.”


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