New programme from Skills Development Scotland and QMS highlights vacancies in butchery sector

A new programme highlighting over 750 potential vacancies in the butchery sector has been launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) in partnership with Skills Development Scotland.

The careers awareness programme will shine a spotlight on butchery as a chance for young people to learn a craft, picking up skills that range from traditional to those using cutting-edge technologies.

The average age of a butcher in Scotland is 60 years old, which is why QMS is highlighting the need for a pipeline of young trainees coming through to future proof the red meat sector, amidst a shortfall of skilled positions.

As females currently represent 14 per cent of current apprentices in the retail butchery sector, the programme will work to showcase the diverse and accessible range of technical and business skills to be learned through the trade.

Around 25 per cent of current vacancies are apprenticeship opportunities in the retail, processing and catering sector. The programme will underline the business skills that the career provides, from selection of products and product development to learning about the supply chain, recipe development, pricing, profitability and customer service.

The campaign is being supported by a new careers website – – where potential candidates can learn about training opportunities, read and watch the real stories of young butchers’ careers and explore job postings.

Case study videos featuring different job roles within the industry are also being promoted, alongside social media adverts which will be shared across Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Gordon Newlands, brand development manager at Quality Meat Scotland, said they wanted to show that butchery can provide an exciting, pioneering and highly skilled career for young people today.

He said: “At a time when we are all conscious of skilled labour shortages, butchery presents a huge array of excellent career opportunities. This is a trade where innovation meets tradition to create an industry full of character and camaraderie that will play a critical role in our social and economic future.

“During the various lockdowns over the last 18 months, many of us have rediscovered the joys of visiting our local butcher to get high quality meats. This project builds on this renewed interest to showcase the range of skills, knowledge and behaviours that can lead to rewarding careers in the butchery industry, not only in the UK but across the world.”

Gerry McBride, strategic relations manager at Skills Development Scotland, said the project has been built to show how much butchery has to offer young people as an exciting career choice with opportunities for progression.

“We strongly believe that butchery represents a field that is more than just a job, it is an innovative and evolving craft that can unlock a range of exciting careers,” said Mr McBride.

“There are dozens of roles to suit everyone – from processing and catering butchery to the retail butchers we see on high streets across the country – all of which provide opportunities for stimulating successful and long-term careers.”

The programme will also raise awareness of the Government funding opportunities available to support businesses in employing young people.

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