Apprenticeships give butchery trade a boost

A rising interest in apprenticeships is encouraging and is providing the butchery trade with a much-needed boost of young employees.

Following new statistics released last week, which showed a 32% increase in online apprenticeship applications in general, National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) technical manager Richard Stevenson said the uptick had come following three years of worry.

He recalled that two or three years ago everyone was getting very worried about the average age of butchers, as few young people were entering the trade, “despite the fact that there was a huge group of youngsters out of work”.

According to Stevenson, a lot of credit should go to the government and said: “We don’t often praise the government, but the measures they have put in place over the last few years have started to see results.”

Figures in a recent survey taken by the quango the National Apprenticeships Service (NAS) showed that the number of young people in England who would like to do an apprenticeship if one were available had risen to 54%.

Referring to this information, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Apprenticeships are fast becoming the norm for school leavers who want to earn while they learn and forge a successful career, as this data shows.”

Hancock also revealed that the government was introducing more than 40 new ‘Higher’ apprenticeship schemes this year, which would allow youngsters to get into the usually academic sectors of law or space engineering.  

Hancock added: “We want to see it become the norm that young people either go to university or into an apprenticeship. To match the growing popularity of apprenticeships, I would urge more employers to consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.”

He also noted that more than 70% of employers said apprentices boosted their service or product, which was testament to apprenticeships.

Looking to the future, Stevenson was positive that interest in apprenticeships would only get stronger. He said: “Things like this are needed to build a head of steam. Youngsters are looking at butchery as a possible career move; there are lots of opportunities out there now.”