Young butcher talk

As a young child at school, I remember going to see the careers teacher and talking about my future job plans, but never once was butchery suggested to me. Even when I expressed my passion for food it was always, "Be a chef".

It's a shame butchery does not have the same profile and appeal to the young generation that the restaurant industry commands. With TV chefs on our screens every day, the simple answer for young people is to follow Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay.

When I first looked at butchery training, thinking I could attend my local catering college, I soon found there were only a handful of colleges in the country that offered a butchery course. This made me move to Leeds to study at Leeds Thomas Danby, a college with an excellent meat technology department.

Opening a department for butchery within a college isn't cheap, I know, but why doesn't one of the other leading colleges do so - perhaps with government funding from DEFRA or the private sector? This would help fill the gap in the industry for young people entering the trade.

Butchery is a fantastic skill and is slowly becoming recognised as a real art form. With the resurgence of butchers' and farm shops up and down the country, I hope that young people are able to see butchery as a career and that owners have faith in employing young butchers and offering them a clear training path. Let's hope we can bring down the average butcher's age before it's too late.

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