Dunfermline Athletic

Lanarkshire butcher secures meaty industry award

Tuesday, 28th Nov 2023

Farmers son James Mitchell worked hard to change direction from engineering to butchery, qualifying recently in a career he loves.

And his commitment to his new life as a butcher has been recognised in a national award marking him out as one of Scotland’s brightest new butchery stars.
James (26), from Greengairs near Airdrie, has been named Scottish Craft Butchers SVQ Level 3 Modern Apprentice of The Year 2023 in the industry’s fiercely contested training awards.

A butcher with multi-award-winning Cooper Quality Butcher, Bellshill, James has brought all his skills, experience, inspiration and vision garnered from his agriculture and academic background, singling him out as an outstanding apprentice throughout his training.

“I’m so proud,” said a delighted James on receiving his award, sponsored by the Scotch Butchers Club and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
“I’m absolutely loving my new career as a butcher and this award shows that hard work pays off – I’m really thrilled to receive it.
“My apprenticeship was really challenging at times but very enjoyable,” he explained. “Academia wasn’t for me and I’m just happy to be back in a hands-on environment as part of a team. This award will be a legacy for everyone involved in getting me across the line.”

Nominated for the national award by Craft Skills Scotland assessor Willie Kemp, James is also recognised as a creative star in the Bellshill business, helping to develop products, counter displays and working practices.
He also helps mentor new trainees in the shop and has created training videos to support his personal development and assessments.

“James believed a career in the meat industry would allow him to build on what he previously perceived to be consumer need, through allowing him to interact with customers and see what they are actually looking for from the agriculture and meat industry,” said Willie.
“He is always thinking out with the box and felt this opportunity could act as a trade off with producers and consumers both benefitting.”
Willie said the apprenticeship at Coopers had been a steep learning curve for James as he learned every aspect of a butcher’s skills and the running of a shop and business – a challenge he met and overcame in impressive fashion.

Coopers’ owner Laura Black said James had been a “great addition” to her team.
“From day one he has been keen to learn all there is to know about butchery and he’s very hands on and relishes hard graft,” she said.
“He’s spent time in every aspect of the business from manufacturing and production to presenting finished products to the customers.”

Gordon King, Executive Manager with Scottish Craft Butchers, said around 220 Level 2 and 3 apprentices were currently training with butchers throughout Scotland.
“For James to win this year’s title marks him out as someone very special and a talent to watch out for in the future,” he said.
“When I see the breadth and depth of talent among all our apprentices, I realise our industry can look forward to a bright future.”


For further information please contact:
PR Maureen Young on 07778-779-888
Claire Simpson, Training Manager, Craft Skills Scotland on 01738-637785

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