Jermey will be replaced in the role by Christine Walsh, who is currently head of stakeholder engagement and management (interim) at levy board AHDB and aims to retain that post after taking on the new role.
An industry veteran and skills champion, Jermey's food industry career spans more than half a century, beginning in 1968 as a graduate production trainee with Unilever.
He managed meat processing factories, ran an automated bakery, led a management buyout of a ready meals company and became president of the British Meat Manufacturers Association before he joined the Meat Training Council in 2005. He saw the need for skills training and education across the food sector, so re-branded the organisation to FTC shortly after being appointed chief executive in 2006.
Jermey's achievements include:
- Restructuring the organisation to create a new group structure, including a food industry specialist awarding body, FDQ, now an awarding and end-point assessment organisation and acquiring the Institute of Meat;
- Championing the development of the first food industry ‘trailblazer’ apprenticeship – the Butcher Standard, in 2015; this apprenticeship was hailed as ‘exemplar’ by Government and is widely accepted as breathing new life into the butchery sector;
- Leading the development of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing qualification, which helped raise professional standards in the slaughter industry and is now a mandated qualification within the Abattoir Worker apprenticeship;
- Developing the principle of an Institute of Meat-accredited ‘Master Butcher’ qualification with the IoM, in response to an absence of regulation as to the use of this title.
Challenge to Government
In December 2020, Jermey initiated what became an industry wide challenge to Government on its failure to include food industry qualifications within the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. This led directly to two food manufacturing qualifications being added to the register last year, providing a lifeline for Apprentices during a deepening labour crisis.
"Bill has been an amazing ambassador for the FTC group, not just in his achievements, but in the ethical tone he set for the group, one which we value and follow ourselves," said Terry Fennell, chief executive officer of sister company FDQ. "His vision and calm direction have helped make FDQ the company it is today. His retirement is certainly well-earnt and I wish him well."
Jermey remains in post as chair of the Institute of Meat.
Walsh has a wealth of experience in driving education and training in the food industry. For more than a decade she worked as a consultant, joining the Red Meat Industry Forum in 2006, where she developed the Fellowship in Meat Management qualification in conjunction with Cranfield and Cambridge universities and Roskilde College in Denmark. Based on that work, she later advised Harper Adams on designing a Post Graduate Certificate and a Diploma in Meat Business Management. Both programmes aimed at building the knowledge and skills required for future leaders in the meat industry.
Walsh also worked as a business coach for Cranfield University for more than a decade and has lectured at the Department of Food Science at Nottingham University.
She said: "Bill leaves the FTC group in a strong position which will help us to continue developing qualifications and apprenticeships to support current industry needs. More importantly, it enables us to focus on anticipating and identifying the future training needs of the UK food industry."