Northern Ireland Butchery Worldskills heat decided

The Northern Ireland heat of the Butchery WorldSkills UK National Competition has been won by Dylan Gillespie of Clougher Valley Meats in Co Tyrone. 

Dylan, 19, who comes from a farming family in Ballygawley, said he enjoyed watching butchers at work, which encouraged him to seek a career in the industry.

“I was pleased to win the heat because it was my first competition. I had been practising for a couple of months and everything went ok in the heat because I knew what I was doing.

“I would like to go through to the final because I enjoyed the competition, but I will have to wait until after the England heat to see if I’m one of the top six butchers. It would be nice to get through and win the final, but you can never think too far ahead.”

Heat runner-up was Diane Watt, 18, of Downeys Butcher in Newry, who was the only girl in the competition.

She said: “I think it’s brilliant that I can represent women and show that we can become butchers.”

Cambrian Training Company’s head of curriculum for food manufacture Chris Jones was a judge for the heat.

He congratulated all five young heat finalists on the high standard of their work. “The standard was really good considering how young they are and there were some good ideas,” he said. “It was the first competition for all the butchers and they will have learnt a lot to build on for next year.”

Dylan will now join the other Irish and Welsh butchers to discover if they have made it into the final following the England heat in July.

The six top-scoring butchers from the combined Wales, Northern Ireland and England heats will qualify for the final at The Skills Show, to be held at the NEC in Birmingham from November 19 to 21.

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