Butchers prepare for first heat of Worldskills Competition 2017

The first heat of the Worldskills Competition 2017 is taking place on Wednesday, 31 May at the Southern Regional College in Newry, Northern Ireland. 

Returning to compete this year will be 21-year-old Dylan Gillespie (pictured) of Clogher Valley Meats in Co Tyrone, who finished in second place last year.

James Gracey, 21, from Quails of Dromore in Co Down, will also be back competing after being highly commended in last year’s final and recently winning the Premier Young Butcher Competition.

Martin Naan, 27 from Southern Regional College will be the third returning finalist back to try his luck. Completing the line up are: Bryan McNamee, 28, from Mulkern’s Eurospar in Newry; 24-year-old Glen McWilliams of Irvine’s Family Butchers in Co Fermanagh; Joseph O’Gormon, a 26-year-old from Southern Regional College; and Conor Reynolds, 18, also from Southern Regional College.

The competition will test the young butchers’ essential skills in innovation, creativity, presentation, work ethic and approach to tasks, carcase and primal utilisation, waste and safe hygienic working practices.

Over the course of the heat, they will be tasked to seam an entire topside of beef into individual muscles in 45 minutes. This will be followed by a barbecue section, which will see them create a visually exciting and practical barbecue display using one whole chicken, a topside of beef, shoulder of lamb and boneless loin of pork. For this section, they will have 1 hour 30 minutes.

“We are all very excited as we enter the third year of successfully running Butchery as a UK Worldskills Competition,” commented Arwyn Watkins, managing director and chair of award-winning training provider Cambrian Training Company, which organises the event.

“It gives young butchers from across the UK the chance to compete against their peers, showcase their skills and be crowned the best butcher in the UK.

“As the competition organising partner we have seen first-hand the positive impacts that Worldskills Competitions have on our competitors' lives, enabling competitors to go ‘Further Faster’ in their careers.”

The competition is created to enhance apprenticeship and training programmes and to improve and drive skills in the industry.

Judging the competition are meat industry consultant Viv Harvey, and Roger Kelsey chief executive of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT). The six top-scoring butchers from across the heats will then compete in the grand finals at Birmingham NEC later in the year.

Meat Trades Journal is the exclusive media partner of the competition, with sponsors including the NFMFT, Institute of Meat, the Food & Drink Training and Education Council, Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales and industry consultant Viv Harvey.

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