Butchery apprentice scheme is approved

Apprenticeships in the meat industry have received a boost following government approval to launch a brand new ‘Trailblazer’ programme, set to go live this autumn across England. 

This follows more than 18 months of design and development activity, led by a group of meat industry employers covering retail butchery and manufacturing in all sectors including poultry.

Work began on the scheme back in March 2014 when employers from the meat industry responded to calls from the government to reform the butchery apprenticeship.

The Butchery Standard is the first food craft apprenticeship to receive government approval and will be available for new apprentices from October. The Standard is designed as part of the wider ministerial reforms, targeting more than three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.

The newly-designed Trailblazer apprenticeship has returned to a more craft-led programme, with apprentices learning not only a traditional mix of knowledge and skills, but also key behaviours expected from those working in a retail or processing environment. At the end of the 18-month programme, Level 2 apprentices will be ‘tested’ on their mastery of cutting skills and industry knowledge by an independent assessor to ensure they have met the butchery standard.

The programme has also been allocated a 100% increase to its funding rate and is valued at £9,600.

Keith Fisher, CEO at the Institute of Meat (IoM), the industry’s professional body, welcomed the announcement: “The approval of the new standard is great news for the meat industry and will mark the return of the traditional knowledge, craft and cutting skills that apprentice butchers must now prove in an independent testing environment before qualifying. The IoM will be delighted to formally recognise these achievements in future years.”

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