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Welsh butchers seeking to become Butchery WorldSkills UK champion

Three Welsh butchers will be putting their skills to the test in Birmingham on Tuesday as they bid for a place in the final of the prestigious Butchery WorldSkills UK competition.

University College Birmingham is the venue for the England and Wales heat which will see four talented butchers in action – Craig Holly from Neil Powell Butchers, Abergavenny, Peter Smith from Jamie Ward Butchers, Churchstoke and Daniel Allen-Raftery from Randall Parker Foods, Llanidloes and Ashton Lindeman from James of Shepperton Butchers, Surrey.

Allen-Raftery is the defending Welsh Butcher of the Year, having won the title at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells last November, while Holly is a former Welsh Pork Butcher of the Year.

Craig Holly, finalist in the Welsh Butcher of the Year competition, at the Royal Welsh Show Winter Fair

From three regional heats or assessment rounds 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 was held at Southern Regional College, Newry on Tuesday and the Scotland heat takes place at City of Glasgow College on June 26.

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.

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 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.

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.

More than 95% of past entrants believe that taking part in the competitions improved their technical and employability skills.