Young butcher talk

At school, I was encouraged by teachers and career advisers to look at the possibility of seeking further education at college or university.

But I knew this was not the route I wanted to take, having worked in our family's butcher's shop since an early age after school, on Saturdays and during school holidays. I already had the butchery bug and knew this was where my future really lay.

However, when I started full-time in the shop, I never imagined the opportunities out there for young butchers. Firstly I joined the Scottish Meat Training Scheme and, after the first year-and-a-half, entered my first meat skills competition. I managed to reach the final where I was runner-up. Success in this first competition made me determined to achieve more and I won the Scottish Young Butcher of the Year two years in succession, represented my country Scotland on two occasions, at home and abroad, demonstrated at The Royal Highland Show with Lady Claire Macdonald four times, went on two Worshipful Company of Butchers' study tours to Denmark and Ireland, was given the opportunity to promote Scottish beef at Harrods, and reached the final of two national competitions - MTJ's Young Butcher of the Year and BBC3's Chop Idol.

But these opportunities have only arisen through hard work and dedication to the trade. I firmly believe that it is essential to start at the bottom and work upwards and there is a tremendous future for any young person wishing to enter the meat trade.