Dunbia, a division of Dawn Meats, is celebrating the milestone of over 200 apprentices completing its award-winning Butchery Academy program. The Butchery Academy was launched in 2009 to provide practical training in all aspects of butchery for the meat processing industry and to date 210 apprentices have completed the course
The 12-month accredited course has been designed to provide apprentices with practical skills, training and qualifications. It takes apprentices through 14 key cuts including fillets, rumps and ribs as well as daily and weekly skills enhancement for knife sharpening, health and safety and quality assurance.
Dunbia’s plant in Saltcoats, Highland Meats, has seen particular success with the Butchery Academy. So far, 17 apprentices have taken part in Dunbia’s Butchery Academy at Highland Meats since it was launched in 2019 with 10 having fully completed the program, and 7 due to complete the course this year. Appetite for the program at Highland Meats is strong, with new recruits being added as soon as apprentices graduate.
Dunbia has invested heavily in the Butchery Academy, allocating a full section of one of their production lines in Highland Meats to train apprentices. The product used for the Academy to train apprentices comes straight from the production line, allowing the apprentices to contribute to the ongoing commercial output of Highland Meats.
While there has been an increase in those choosing butchery as a career path in the UK in recent years, the impact of the pandemic and rising living costs is a threat for the industry.
Niall Browne, CEO of Dawn Meats, said:
“The Butchery Academy is showing that butchery is a viable and sought-after career choice, delivering a critical skill for the food industry. We are fortunate to get such high-quality produce from our suppliers around the UK and Ireland, and that produce is deserving of the best handling right through the production process. There is a serious shortage of skilled labour across the industry at the moment, but we are committed to investing in high quality training for our team to ensure standards are maintained.”
Dunbia’s Butchery Academy is managed by Steven Dobson, an accredited Master Butcher, with practical training and mentoring conducted at Highland Meats by Chris Brawls.
Chris Brawls, Dunbia Butchery Academy Trainer and Mentor, said:
“It’s important that we do not lose the craft of butchery. Our focus is on providing the consumer with the best possible food experience, and butchery is a key aspect of that journey. Our apprentices receive a tailormade program which gives them tangible skills and opportunities to progress. This is an industry I have been in for over 30 years, and the core skills in butchery are ones I have carried with me throughout my career.”
Sean Cassidy, a recent graduate from the Butchery Academy, said:
“The Butchery Academy has opened doors in the food industry for me as I develop my career. It is great to play a part in getting high-quality produce on to supermarket shelves and family dinner tables. The skills I have learnt whilst gaining a qualification have provided me with an excellent foundation in butchery. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the food sector to consider butchery as a career choice.”
Dunbia’s Butchery Academy was awarded Training Partner of the Year Award 2021 at the Scottish Craft Butchers Awards and also had two finalists in the Mentor of the Year Award 2021 at the same awards.