TAFE SA and the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) are joining forces to encourage more people to take up a career in the retail meat industry.
A pre-apprenticeship training program incorporating meat studies and cookery subjects is being offered at TAFE SA, with places in the program subsidised by AMIC through Skilling SA project funding.
The Certificate II Meat Processing (Meat Retailing) will incorporate four units from the Certificate II in Kitchen Operations, providing students with an extensive set of skills.
Meat Studies lecturer Shayne O’Dea says the training is tailored for the modern retail butcher who needs strong foundation skills mixed with good product and cooking knowledge.
“Butchers are increasingly preparing roasts, slow cook dishes, and pulled meats among other meals to enhance their already extensive selections of value-added products,” he says.
“They are doing a lot of the preparation work for their customers and providing cooking advice.
“The trade is enjoying a resurgence because people are looking for that level of service.”
Butcher Jason Dick, owner of Bower Road Meats, began his career in a TAFE SA pre-apprenticeship program. He went on to an apprenticeship, worked as a butcher and then bought his own business.
Jason recalls the pre-apprenticeship program fuelling his interest in the industry by highlighting the many aspects of the trade and teaching basic skills.
During the program he did a block of work experience with Bower Road Meats and, showing a keen interest in meat retail, he was offered a job.
Jason says the thing he enjoys most about being a retail butcher is the ability to personalise the products he sells.
“You can make your own sausages, introduce different flavourings and present the meat in different ways. You have to do things to stand out, but I think that’s a fun challenge,” he says.
Through the Certificate II in Meat Processing (Meat Retailing) students will learn practical, hands-on skills, including trimming and boning meat products and innovative sausage manufacturing.
Training will be conducted by TAFE SA’s expert team of lecturers with practical elements taking place in purpose-built facilities, which include an accredited meat retail production area, boning room and smallgoods manufacturing equipment, at Regency Campus.
An additional benefit of this partnership between TAFE SA and AMIC is that students will have access to AMIC’s strong industry network.
AMIC, the peak body representing the post farm-gate meat industry, says it wants to see more young job seekers going into the red meat industry.
“With this collaboration between AMIC and TAFE SA we will be establishing a systematic pathway, which will allow the participants a platform on which to increase their skills and knowledge and capitalise on sector opportunities,” AMIC’s Chris Kelly says.
“As this program not only involves a Certificate II in Meat Processing/Retailing, but also incorporates basic cookery components, it will allow the participants the opportunity to gain a competent set of skills which in turn will make them extremely employable whilst also providing them with an excellent springboard into the retail meat industry.”