Butchers prepare for English heat of WorldSkills challenge

The third and final heat of the WorldSkills butchery challenge will take place tomorrow at Leeds City College. 

The competition is organised by Cambrian Training Company, supported by an industry steering group and exclusive media partner Meat Trades Journal.

Daniel Turley (30) of Aubrey Allen in Leamington Spa is taking part in the contest. “I’m not feeling too bad at the moment,” he said on the eve of the competition. “It’ll be tomorrow when I’m driving up there that I’ll be nervous.”

Turley is one of four butchers who will be competing in the heat, alongside Jessica Leliuga of Ye Olde Sausage Shop in Accrington, Jordan Fretwell from H Copley of Huddersfield and Ryan Lee of A Charlesworth in Horbury.

Leliuga (22) started work at her cousin’s shop at the age of 13. Having gained nearly 10 years’ experience in the industry, the young butcher has big plans for the future. “I would like to apply for Team GB in the World Butchers’ Challenge and get to compete on a bigger scale. That would be nice. Hopefully, by doing the smaller competitions it will give me a bit more experience - you get to speak to people and get new ideas.”

As with the Welsh and Northern Irish heats, the judges are Roger Kelsey, chief executive of The National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMFT), and Viv Harvey, industry consultant. The English heat will also welcome Keith Fisher, chief executive of the Institute of Meat as a judge.

The four competitors will have 45 minutes to seam a topside of beef, followed by an hour and a half to create an innovative barbecue display.

“I’m excited and a bit nervous,” Fretwell told Meat Trades Journal. “I’d like to see what it’s like. I’ve not done a competition before so it’ll be interesting to see that side of things.”

Fretwell, who one day dreams of owning his own butcher’s shop or farm shop, said that he’s spent time practising at his store.

“It’ll definitely give me a confidence boost and it’ll reflect well on me and the shop. It’ll help me going into any further jobs in butchery.”

Sponsorship partners include the NFMFT, the Institute of Meat, The Food & Drink Training and Education Council, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales and Viv Harvey.

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