Editor's Extra Comment

Simon Howie's lament that his business plans are hampered by lack of quality recruits is not a lone one. Recruiting and retaining good staff is a challenge for butchers up and down the country, with most struggling to find youngsters interested in a career in meat.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, such as our three finalists for the Young Butcher of the Year at our Butcher's Shop of the Year Awards next week (16 November), all of whom are keen and committed. Yet it's not simply a case of needing to seek out more like these three; we have to find ways to engage with people from all walks of life and enthuse them with the passion that runs through the sector.

Howie rightly points to the catering sector and the success they have had in turning around the image of a job in foodservice. Once upon a time, catering was the job of last resort, but these days, youngsters are falling over themselves to get into the industry. That sea change in attitude is down to an improved industry image the jobs are still the same.

Butchers need to emulate that success. The meat industry has a lot to offer potential recruits and we need to start creating a positive buzz that will showcase those opportunities. Training, advancement, the ability to run your own business are just some of the points that need to be broadcast.

There are some wonderful businesses out there, as we can see from our Butcher's Shop finalists, and there are great opportunities within them. So let's start spreading the word.