SCOTTISH MEAT industry apprenticeships have been given the go ahead to return post-Lockdown.

Apprentice assessments came to a standstill across the country as travel to visit plants and shops became impossible for anyone who did not have 'key worker' status.

Consumer demand for local butchers and other food businesses skyrocketed during the pandemic as the public became more interested in the origin of their food and turned increasingly to local buying. With apprenticeships returning, more feet on the ground to meet this demand will be welcomed by meat and poultry businesses.

There is also an onus on encouraging young people to considering a career in the meat sector with many in the industry looking to retire in the coming years.

Read more - Crafty move: Opportunity for lockdown school leavers to carve a career in craft butchery

The Scottish Farmer:

Jamie Sutherland receives his butchers apprenticeship certificate at Ramsay's of Carluke

Craft Skills Scotland are the largest provider of 'meat and poultry skills' modern apprenticeships in Scotland.

Previously known as Scottish Meat Training, the training company of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association has been delivering specialist qualifications for over 35 years.

The team of fully qualified assessors and verifiers deliver the qualifications in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

SFMTA executive manager, Gordon King said: “The whole assessment strategy has had to be reviewed to consider the new requirements for social distancing and use of PPE. Our whole team have had training on the new procedures and are now contacting their apprentices to arrange assessment appointments”.

“The assessments can now take place remotely via video link and video call," he continued. "All our apprentices have access to our online database, where evidence can be uploaded and reviewed”.

“It is a new way of working for all of us, however, we have adapted to the rapidly changing situation to try to ensure that the apprentices themselves do not miss out on the chance to progress in their career path”.

“With Brexit looming and significant number of our industry workforce due to retire it is more important for young people to consider the meat industry as a career path," he explained. "There may be an opportunity to offer jobs and re-skilling to individuals who may have been made redundant from the service sector, meaning that the chance to complete an industry recognised specialist qualification is more important than ever,” Mr King urged.