Seventh heaven for Tebay Services’ apprenticeship scheme

A butchery apprenticeship scheme based at motorway service station Tebay Services has successfully trained up seven young butchers over the past seven years. 

The Tebay Services Butchery Apprenticeship Scheme was started in 2008, when the services introduced a traditional butchery facility to the farm shop on their southbound site. Since then the department has grown to include meat maturing and cutting rooms, which supply the butchers’ counters in both northbound and southbound farm-shops. It now has a team of 14 staff on hand to offer advice and prepare meat to customers’ specifications, stocking traditional cuts of meat alongside seasonal specialities like sweetbreads and seasonal game.
The scheme gives young people the chance to gain a globally recognised qualification in butchery and uses experienced hands to pass down valuable traditional skills. This crucial hands-on approach isn’t available through more academic routes of education and, being part of the Westmorland Family, with its own farm providing lamb and beef to the services, means apprentices gain a solid understanding of animal welfare issues and the impact food miles have on the quality of meat. There are many reports that the meat industry is experiencing a real skills shortage, with the average age of butchers over 50.
David Morland, head of butchery at Tebay Services, said: “At Tebay Services we are proud of the traditional methods we use. We break down the whole carcase in a nose-to-tail approach; as a result we can offer our customers a varied range of good, flavourful cuts. In setting up the Butchery Apprenticeship Scheme we wanted to pass on a skill that is sadly disappearing from modern butchery practice. Marc is our seventh apprentice to qualify over the last seven years and we’re at a stage where our earlier-qualified apprentices are now passing on their knowledge and skills to the new guys.”
Marc Pattinson, the most recent apprentice, said “The most valuable thing I have learnt while completing my apprenticeship was the importance of cutting and presenting meat to a high standard. I have enjoyed learning the art of butchery as a whole; the journey from field to fork and understanding why each stage of the process is vital to securing a quality product.”

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