Training standard for abattoirs given the go-ahead

A Level 2 standard for abattoir workers for the red meat sector has been given the thumbs-up for development by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The training programme is being produced by an employers group in conjunction with skills development charity, The Food and Drink Training and Education Council (ftc), who helped bring the Level 2 Butchery Standard to fruition earlier this year.

Richard Dilworth, ABP senior policy adviser, is heading up the employer group, which is represented by senior figures within 13 of the UKs abattoir and meat processing companies. This makes sure that all the industrys needs are met.

Meanwhile, Terry Fennell, group operations manager of ftc, will deliver organisational support and technical expertise to the group, having gained experience in the field of Trailblazer Standard development.

The apprenticeship scheme will be designed to support its workforce in their responsibilities to protect human health, their own health and safety, as well as maintaining legal standards for the health and welfare of animals.

Its main focus will be developing the core knowledge, skills and behaviours needed in the sector for employees to be able to do their jobs in a professional and safe manner.

The new apprenticeship will cover: animal welfare; food safety; flaying/hair removal; evisceration; and specified risk material removal. It will also be underpinned by the requirement for apprentices to achieve the Level 2 WATOK certificate, an accredited and recognised qualification.

Having a dedicated apprenticeship, supported by an internationally recognised qualification will appeal to young people and employers alike and, as such, will encourage more youngsters into the industry and more employers to recruit locally, said Dilworth, chair of the Red Meat Abattoir Standard Development Group (RMASDG).

The British Meat Processors Association, the Association of Meat Suppliers and the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders will be there to offer guidance on the development of the standard, which has received financial support from the Worshipful Co of Butchers and is being endorsed by The Institute of Meat.

Developing a standard is one thing, commented Bill Jermey, chief executive of ftc. Making it industry practice is quite another. We are fortunate though in the meat industry to have such experienced and active trade bodies, and well be counting on their support to help us champion this step-change in skill training amongst their members.

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