First butchery trailblazers complete apprenticeship training

The first apprentices to enroll on the new butchery trailblazer apprenticeship are completing the first year of the scheme. One year on from being welcomed as apprentice members into the Institute of Meat (IoM), three of our Butchery apprentices, from Walter Smith Fine Foods, yesterday sat their end-point assessment (EPA), the final stage of the Level 2 Butchery Standard.

Reece Nevard (20), Stephen Maltby (19) and Curtis Brind (19) were the first ever apprentice members of the IoM and are now the first trailblazer apprentices to reach the vital ‘end-point assessment stage’. Reece and Stephen are both employed at Walter Smith, Huntingdon, whilst Curtis works in their Coventry shop.

End-point assessment represents one of the biggest changes to the apprenticeship system.. Without passing it learners cannot complete their apprenticeship and receive their certificate. The EPA represents a final ‘sign off’ for the employer that their apprentice is capable of doing the job they’ve trained to do.

The L2 Butchery EPA is taken under exam conditions, and involves the following elements:

• Independent inspection and sign off of the Apprentice Logbook
• Theory of Butchery Knowledge multiple choice test
• Butchery Practical Skills Test
• Vocational Competence Discussion

For the first time, also the apprentice’s performance will be graded. The Butchery EPA has a Pass, Fail or Excellence grading system.

Reece, Curtis and Stephen were assessed by an Independent Assessor from FDQ, the Apprentice Awarding Organisation for the Butchery Standard. The Independent Assessor (IA) was an experienced butcher, and as required by the EPA, not connected to Walter Smith or Crosby Training; to ensure impartiality was maintained. Aubrey Allen were hosting the EPA, at their new Training Academy in Coventry.

The IoM is the body who provided the necessary external quality assurance for the Butchery Apprenticeship. Chief Executive, Keith Fisher, said: “This is not just an important day for Reece, Curtis and Stephen. It’s an important day for the Butchery sector as a whole. End-point assessments are the ultimate proof of how the Butchery Trailblazer has raised the bar for butchery training. It’s heartening to see young, thoroughly trained butchers now coming through the system and it fills me with confidence for the future of our profession. It will have been a tough day for them, but I wish them all the best.”

Paul Cadman, HR director of Walter Smith and Newly appointed member of the Institute for Apprenticeships added “As a Director of Walter Smith Fine Foods for 20 years I know how important it is to have a good apprenticeship programme. All of our butchers, and shop managers did an apprenticeship. Today Curtis, Stephen and Reece became the first three butchery trailblazer apprentices to undertaking the brand-new End Point Assessment but it’s reassuring that the skills, knowledge and behaviours they’ve had to demonstrate to the Independent Assessors are similar to those of many decades ago. Our customers value these traditional craft skills as it shows in the exceptional meat they produce and the service they provide. I am very proud of the apprentices who I hope have done enough to pass, I’m grateful to their excellent tutors from Crosby Butchery Training for training and preparing them, to FDQ for providing a professional and rigorous EPA and to the Aubrey Academy for the first-class venue and Lamb used for the assessment.”

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