North-east Wales butcher Ben Roberts is set for the biggest challenge of his career as he takes on six other finalists in the 2021 Butchery WorldSkills UK contest.
The prestigious contest, to be held at Reaseheath College, Nantwich on November 11 and 12, will see Britain and Ireland’s finest butchers challenged across a range of different tasks, to demonstrate their skills including innovation, creativity, presentation, work ethic, method and approach to tasks, carcass and primal utilisation, waste and safe and hygienic working practice.
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is again one of the sponsors of the competition, as part of its commitment to developing the butchery sector and ensuring that the red meat industry an attractive career path for Welsh youngsters.
Ben, 29, is a member of the Craft Butchery Team Wales, and manages M.E. Evans Traditional Butchers in Overton on Dee, a member of HCC’s Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef Butchers’ Club. He won his place at the final through virtual heats where butchers were judged online.
“I have wanted to compete at WorldSkills for several years but, until this year, have always struggled to dedicate the time needed to the competition to make it possible,” he said.
“I have been selected to represent Craft Butchery Team Wales at the World Butchers Challenge next September 2022 and the WorldSkills competition will allow me to develop key skills and experience to take forward to this global stage.
“Hopefully the skills and experience I gain from both competitions can be brought back into the business and one day allow me to run my own shop.”
HCC’s Senior Market Development Officer Laura Howells said,
“Following the success of previous Welsh entrants in this competition such as Matthew Edwards and Peter Rushforth, it’s great to see Ben in the final this year.
“Now more than ever the sector depends on highly skilled butchers, in independent shops and in larger processors. Good butchery drives product innovation, and helps to reduce food waste.”
The competition is organised by pan Wales training provider Cambrian Training and supported by an Industry Steering Group. In addition to HCC it is sponsored by The Institute of Meat, The National Craft Butchers, The Worshipful Company of Butchers and supported by FDQ.