A Welsh border butcher gave his rivals the chop in the England and Wales heat of the prestigious Butchery WorldSkills UK competition in Birmingham yesterday (Tuesday).
Peter Smith, who works for Jamie Ward Butchers, Churchstoke, emerged the victor by less than half a mark after the keenly contested heat held at University College Birmingham.
The other competing butchers were Craig Holly, a former Welsh Pork Butcher of the Year from Neil Powell Butchers, Abergavenny, reigning Welsh Butcher of the Year Daniel Allen-Raftery from Randall Parker Foods, Llanidloes and Ashton Lindeman from James of Shepperton Butchers, Surrey.
They were challenged to seam a leg of pork in 45 minutes and to create a barbecue display from chicken, pork, beef and lamb in 90 minutes. The judges were Roger Kelsey from The National Federation of Meet and Food Traders and Viv Harvey, a meat consultant.
From three regional heats across the UK, the six top scoring butchers will qualify for the final to be held at The Skills Show at the NEC Birmingham from November 15-17.
The Northern Ireland heat, held at Southern Regional College, Newry on June 5, was won by Dylan Gillespie from Clogher Valley Meats, Clogher. The Scotland heat takes place at City of Glasgow College on June 26.
In the UK final, the six butchers will complete five tasks over two days in front of a live audience. The Skills Show is the nation’s largest skills and careers event and helps to shape the future of the next generation.
The competition focuses on all the essential skills required for a successful career as a multi-skilled butcher within the food manufacturing industry. Butchers are tested for overall skill, innovation, creativity, presentation, work ethic, method and approach to tasks, carcass and primal utilisation, waste and safe and hygienic working practice.
The butchery competition is organised by award-winning training provider Cambrian Training Company, based in Welshpool and supported by an Industry Steering Group. Sponsors are specialist awarding organisation FDQ, The Institute of Meat, Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales and The National Federation of Meet and Food Traders.
Katy Godsell, Cambrian Training Company’s marketing manager, who organises the competition for WorldSkills UK, said the heat had been keenly contest, with less than half a mark separating the top two butchers. She thanked University College Birmingham for hosting the heat and its excellent hospitality.
To enter, butchers must not have completed a qualification higher than a level 4 in Food Manufacturing Excellence or equivalent.
Butchery is one of more than 60 skills to feature in this year’s WorldSkills UK Competitions which are proven to help young people go further, faster in their training and careers. The competitions are designed by industry experts and focus on the highest UK and international standards.
They deliver benefits to not only apprentices and students, but also to their employers, training providers and colleges. Taking part in the competitions equips apprentices with the world-class skills needed to help organisations maintain their competitive edge.