The future of the meat industry: The opportunities are endless
Published:  18 November, 2015

Dave SmithThe meat industry opens several doors to people who may not necessarily want to follow a career in butchery – such as engineering, IT or even sales and purchasing – the opportunities really are endless.

At ABP UK, we work very closely with the National Skills Academy and have recently become members, well as engaging with local schools and colleges to show young people just how much opportunity there is in our industry. At this year’s The Skills Show, the nation’s largest skills and careers event, we will be engaging with hundreds of young people in order to show them the entire operation from start to finish. I will also be taking part in the Spotlight Talk where I hope to attract young people with the passion and drive that I have for this fantastic industry and inspire them to explore their career options in the trade.

Our attendance at the show highlights our on-going work to inspire the future of the meat industry, which involves initiatives with organisations such as Leeds City College; where we work with students and tutors on tailored sessions that continue to attract young people into the industry once they have gained qualifications in areas like butchery and engineering. We also have a hugely successful graduate training scheme that offers extensive insight into all areas of our business, the success of which has led to some of our graduates progressing to director level.

Personally, my advice for young people looking to enter the industry would be to aim high! If you are ambitious, passionate and hard working the world is your oyster. I began my career at Dewhurst Butchers, which was a fantastic platform to learn the trade. I then went on to become a boning hall supervisor with ABP UK and watched the plant grow from having 95 people to 700+ - having the benefit of managing every department including slaughter, boning, retail packing, dispatch and technical before progressing to group technical liaison and finally account management.

For young people who are still undecided on a career in the meat industry, I’m always keen to point out my career highlights to show the diversity of this career. Being awarded with my Master Butcher award is, of course, my ultimate highlight and being one of only 16 Master Butchers in the world is a huge honour. I have also worked with Jamie Oliver, which was a real privilege as Jamie’s appetite and passion for the industry was truly infectious.

I want to be able to share my experience and advice to hundreds of young people at The Skills Show this year, which is why I’m excited to take part in the Spotlight Talk. The industry as a whole needs to continue working hard to encourage the next generation to pursue a career in this sector and I am proud to be a part of that effort.