NI butcher apprentices a lesson for all

I take great encouragement from the news coming out of Northern Ireland about the growth in the number of young butchers going into training.

Improve's announcement about the surge in demand from the butchery sector could be a real shot in the arm for an industry which has a real challenge on its hands to encourage young people into the sector. Good training is essential to that, and butchers who are willing to offer apprenticeships with recognised qualifications will be in a much stronger position to recruit some fresh blood.

It certainly seems to be having an effect in Northern Ireland and it would be great to see that replicated elsewhere.

Interestingly, this year's finalists for our Young Butcher of the Year Award, part of the Butcher's Shop of the Year Awards, are all from Scotland it's not just the Northern Irish who are investing in youth.
So the question that raises is, what about the rest of the UK? Are the butchers in England and Wales taking the issue of recruitment and training seriously enough? Talk to most people in the trade and the lack of young talent coming in is a serious issue, a ticking timebomb.

We need to do as much as we can to encourage people to see butchery as a worthwhile career.
Meanwhile, I'd like to offer my congratulations to all the finalists in our Butcher's Shop of the Year Awards, and commiserations to those that didn't make the shortlist. This year's competition was exceptionally tough, and judges had a hard time selecting the final three in each category. Final judging is underway, and I wish everyone the best of luck. ED

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