ABP pilots AHDB Beef & Lamb’s Meat Education Programme
Published:  22 February, 2016

Processor ABP has “stress-tested” the AHDB Beef & Lamb Meat Education Programme with a class of butchers, product development experts, meat buyers and traders all passing with flying colours. 

The goal of the pilot session was to test the industry’s receptiveness to an examination that AHDB Beef & Lamb hopes will one day become commonplace for the meat industry.

It was the first time any business has implemented the test in-house and the reception was “fantastic”, according to ABP’s agriculture and sustainability manager Elwyn Pugh.

He has been intrinsically linked to a drive to put the levy board’s educational programme to the test, which Pugh described as a “game-changer and a first in the meat industry”.

At ABP’s Doncaster office, 10 people, inclduing Asda’s beef buying manager Jon Biggs, sat two Meat Education Programme theory exams: Understanding Cattle Production, Beef Quality and the Supply Chain, and Identifying Beef Carcasses.

Transfer of knowledge

No one scored lower than 92%, with several scoring a perfect 100%. This came as a relief to Pugh and after he admitted to feeling “nervous” before the results were collected.

Pugh said he wants to “drive forward a transfer of knowledge” in the industry. His view: to ensure all staff at ABP have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the meat industry, bridging a gap in knowledge that he said is evident in the UK’s meat sector.

Vital insight

“We’ve got a meat-training programme, for meat professionals who are already in the business,” said Pugh. “The Meat Education Programme is a fantastic opportunity to invest in our people; to make them better professionals, and this will make the difference.

“We are fully committed to delivering excellence in terms of service and quality products for our customers. Our colleagues are a vital part in this process as is their understanding and all round knowledge of our products. Colleague development is an ongoing journey at ABP and this meat training course from the AHDB will provide participants with the vital knowledge and insights to continue to raise the bar with it comes to providing customers with quality and service. I would like to congratulate all of the participants and acknowledge the support from Dick van Leeuwen and Liz Ford in the AHDB,” added Pugh.

In its current form, the Meat Education Programme has only been set up to cover beef and lamb. Dick van Leeuwen, business development manager for AHDB Beef & Lamb and project leader for the meat programme, said he hopes pork is added to the syllabus in the future.

“So far the results have been astronomical,” added van Leeuwen. “We’ve have queries from as far afield as India and Abu Dhabi. The industry in the UK has really embraced the programme and it is actually promoting itself.”