Brand New Butchery Trailblazer Apprenticeship

Walter Smith and Dudley College become first to enrol apprentices on the brand new Butchery Trailblazer apprenticeship

Trailblazer App. Reece Nevard, Stephen Maltby, their Mentor, International young butcher and Assistant Farm Shop Manager Chris Riley and existing apprentice Thomas LeaFamously established in 1885, multi-award winning Walter Smith Fine Foods has now achieved another first for the industry.  On 15th October it became the first employer to register three of its apprentices on the brand new Butchery Trailblazer apprenticeship programme, approved by the Government only days earlier.  The new programme is also the first Trailblazer to be delivered by Dudley College who have been in partnership with Walter Smith since 2010.

Paul Cadman, HR Director for Walter Smith was part of the employer group that designed the new apprenticeship programme over an 18 month period.  “I am delighted to be able to work with Dudley College to deliver what will be the best butchery apprenticeship programme ever delivered in over 100 years of delivering apprenticeships at Walter Smith” said Paul.

Walter Smith’s sister company (Crosby Management Training Ltd) started working with Dudley College back in 2010 when it created a new purpose built training facility above its butchers shop in Dudley Town Centre.   Over the years the college has developed a strong partnership led by Vice Principal Sanjeev Ohri who saw the benefit of working strategically with a Dudley based employer to provide a much needed specialism (retail butchery & food industry skills) that the college didn’t provide itself.   Resulting from this partnership butchery students of the college have won many awards including National Apprenticeship awards and the college’s own advanced apprentice award (won by Walter Smith’s Chris Riley in 2014).

In 2013 Walter Smith we’re the National Apprentice Employer of the year and a Top 100 apprentice employer along with companies such as Jaguar Land Rover.   Since then its apprentices have won lots of competitions including National Apprenticeship Service awards, Worldskills heats, Institute of Meat Campion of Champions and National Premier Young Butcher (the latter awards being won by Chris Riley who represented England in an international butchery competition held in Holland at the end of September.  Chris Riley (22) from Dudley is now Assistant Manager at Walter Smith’s largest Farm Shop in Huntingdon Cambridgeshire.

Lowell Williams, Principal of Dudley College said about the new Trailblazer “I remember presenting Chris with his award so it’s wonderful that Chris will now mentor Reece Nevard (18) & Stephen Maltby (17), two of the first apprentices as they commence their programme.  We plan to work with Walter Smith to enrol 30 or more of these new Butchery Trailblazer apprentices by the year end.  Not all of these will be employed by Walter Smith so any employer may approach us”.

The new Trailblazer differs from what was previously offered to apprentice butchers.   Now the employer and provider will co-invest in the apprentice programme.   The apprentices, who can be any age, will be coached and prepared by their tutors over a 12 to 18 month period towards a three-part end test that will examine their practical butchery skills, their subject knowledge text and a professional discussion about their log book that they will have been keeping throughout their apprenticeship.   Apprentices will also be automatically registered as student members of the Institute of Meat and be allowed to use the designatory letters Assoc.InstM after their name while they are students.   On completion they may progress through a further process to full membership  (M.InstM ) and ultimately to become an accredited Master Butcher if they and their employer so wish and have the commitment.

Anyone interested in this new apprenticeship programme, either as an employer or an apprentice can find out more by contacting any of the following: