Young butcher talk

I am an apprentice butcher at McMaster Home Farm Meats in Whitehead, Northern Ireland. While doing my apprenticeship, I also took part in an NVQ Level 2 in Meat and Poultry Processing, which was run by Scottish Meat Training.

The task involved an assessor coming out to my work and assessing me once a month on different types of butchery, which ranged from boning-out beef, lamb and so on right through to sharpening and maintaining an edge on a knife. This programme was great to do, as it got me another qualification.

When I decided I wanted to be a butcher I was working on my boss' farm, doing farm work and looking after the cattle, which were then taken to the abattoir to be slaughtered for the shop. Two weeks before Christmas, I got a phone call from Tom asking me to come and work in the shop. What a shock I was in for, as we sent out over 900 turkeys. But with Christmas over and the shop running normally, I decided that it was the job for me.

I have been working for McMaster Home Farm Meats for nearly two years now and enjoy being a butcher. New people come into the shop every day and you have the regulars, who are in nearly every day.

I also take part in sausage competitions, which gets me out to different butchers' events to see the skills of other butchers, which I try to take in and carry out in the shop. As they say, you look and you learn never was a truer statement made.

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