Young Welsh butchers in Apprenticeship Awards shortlist

Two young Welsh butchers are hoping for success after being shortlisted in the finals for the prestigious Welsh Apprenticeship Awards.

Both butchers are champions in their own right having won the Welsh Young Butcher contest, but now Tom Jones, 24, who runs his own shop in Llangollen, has been named a finalist in the Entrepreneurial Apprentice of the Year category, while Matthew Edwards, 22, who works for S A Vaughan Family Butchers, Penyffordd, is a Foundation Apprentice of the Year finalist at the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru 2014.
 
They will be competing against 34 other finalists across 13 categories at the high-profile awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport at the end of the month (31 October). The awards are organised jointly by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW).

Tom, who achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills, is working towards an Apprenticeship and aims to progress to a Higher Apprenticeship as he now employs four apprentices.

Since taking on the shop in Llangollen, he has turned the business around, has seen takings double and is now looking for larger premises. “It’s thanks to my apprenticeship training that I‘ve been able to grow the business, resulting in my expansion plans,” he said.

Matthew, who represented the UK in the International Young Butcher Competition in Switzerland recently, is working towards an Apprenticeship in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills with the Cambrian Training Company, having previously achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship.

“I chose an apprenticeship to further my understanding of butchery and to learn everything I can to help me achieve my goal: to own a butcher’s shop and pass on my knowledge to other young, enthusiastic butchers,” he said.

The awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training. They are also a great way to evaluate training and development, as well as a fantastic motivational factor for any workforce or learner.
 
Wales’ Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology Julie James said: “Apprenticeships are a great way to start a successful career. You earn while you learn and gain nationally recognised qualifications. They also provide industry with a skilled, motivated and qualified workforce. I wish Tom and Matthew every success in their careers.”
 
More than 300 key stakeholders from the vocational education and training sector across Wales are expected to attend the high-profile awards ceremony, where guests will dine out with chefs from the National Culinary Team.

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