Meat training sign-ups spike since lockdown

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

AHDB has seen a spike in new signups for its online training programmes
AHDB has seen a spike in new signups for its online training programmes

Related tags coronavirus Meat & Seafood Training & recruitment Beef Lamb Pork Poultry

New registrations to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB’s) meat education programme (MEP) have increased by 50% since the coronavirus lockdown.

Members of the meat industry have turned to the free online tool to brush up their skills while away from work, with pass rates also increasing by 10%.

AHDB’s programme development manager and master butcher Dick Van Leeuwen (pictured) said: “The programme was launched in 2016 to help bring much-needed skills and expertise to the meat industry. Four years on and we have awarded almost 9,000 certificates – that’s 9,000 more meat experts able to make the best of their great produce and help drive their business.

Tailor-made training

“It’s really positive that those with a bit of unexpected extra time on their hands are taking advantage of the programme. I hope more will, after all it’s free, tailored to your role and business and, best of all, you can take the exam as many times as you need.”

The programme is designed to help meat suppliers, butchers and other members of the meat sector advance and hone their skills. It provides practical and theoretical butchery for beef, lamb and pork.

In 2012, AHDB rolled out the programme to virtual classrooms across a number of universities and colleges through it’s ‘A Passion to Inspire’ scheme – a non-profit, voluntary initiative tasked with bringing education and industry closer together.

​Commenting on the online success of the MEP, Murray Chapman of First Contact Chefs and director of the volunteer group, said: “Both are fantastic initiatives and bringing them together really benefits all the students and chefs we reach, not just through education but also through inspiration and passion.”

Pork module

The continued online success of the MEP comes half a year since the launch of a dedicated pork handling skills module​ to the course.

At the launch, Leeuwen said: “Through the beef and lamb modules, we’ve already trained thousands of people. It’s now routinely used in the retail and foodservice supply chains, at catering colleges and in retailers across the country. Training companies are even using them as a basis to run courses, so the new pork modules will make the programme a one-stop-shop for red meat training.”

Meanwhile, food industry coronavirus support initiatives continue to build momentum,​ with a host of firms rallying to aid the vulnerable, NHS staff and their peers in the sector.

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