A SALTCOATS meat company has launched a new butchery school.

Highland Meats launched their Butchery Academy in collaboration with Scottish Meat Training on Monday, October 7.

The new programme, lasting between 12 and 14 months, will provide education in what is a dying trade in the UK.

With the demand for local beef rising, Highland Meats’ owner Dunbia wants to ensure that the future of the industry is protected through teaching and upskilling.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there are approximately 6,000 independent butchers in the UK, down from around 15,000 in 1990. Dunbia has launched its new academy in recognition of the important role butchers play in communities.

The apprentices will start off by learning the basics of trimming and the different cuts of meat as they progress through the course. Craft Butchers from Scottish Meat Training will be visiting Highland Meats to assess the apprentices’ performance as they work toward a Level 2 accreditation in food and drink operations. This accreditation is a recognised qualification across the industry.

Speaking at the launch, Steven Dobson, Butchery Academy manager, said: “With demand for quality local beef constantly rising, we want to ensure that butchery as a profession can keep pace with this trend. For something which was once a hugely desirable vocation, butchery has been declining in recent years, particularly amongst young people.

“Dunbia is keen to attract people to the profession, as well as upskill those already working in it, so that top quality produce remains accessible to the consumer.

“I wish all of our new apprentices’ the best of luck in their studies.”