Meat Industry Training


In the mid 1980s the Government established and introduced a system of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) a move which served to undermine the primary role of The Institute of Meat in providing meat industry qualifications.

Given the need for an organisation capable of delivering meat industry NVQs, the Worshipful Company of Butchers worked with the then Meat and Livestock Commission to develop and implement a workable and effective solution. This led, in 1991, to the establishment of The Meat Training Council as a charitable entity; Lord Vestey was its first Chairman and Fred Mallion Company Secretary. Funding was obtained from the Meat and Livestock Commission and The Department of Education to develop meat and poultry NVQs for the industry. Quick progress, under this industry organisation, saw the introduction of a wide range of successful programmes with the result that The Meat Training Council became The National Training Organisation (NTO) for the meat and poultry industries.


Government policy changed again in the early 2000s with the establishment of Sector Skills Councils replacing NTOs and the subsequent loss of Government funding for the Meat Training Council. In response to the funding challenge the Meat Training Council extended the scope of the awarding body to include the entire food industry with the establishment of Food and Drink Qualifications (FDQ). This was later established as a limited company, wholly owned by MTC.

FDQ was highly successful in the wider food industry as well as the meat sector with the result that the name of the charity was changed from MTC to The Food and Drink Training and Education Council (FTC). The Institute of Meat was taken over by FTC in 2010.

More Recent Developments

With Government qualification and apprentice frameworks constantly changing and the meat industry continuing to question the frameworks, the announcement of the new ‘Trailblazer’ schemes in 2015 saw FTC engaging with employers in the development of an effective system of meat industry apprenticeships which were welcomed by the industry. A true “employer-led” group, facilitated by FTC with financial support from the Worshipful Company of Butchers, developed and introduced the Butcher Apprentice Standard in 2016. Such was the level of success that the Advanced Butcher Standard and more recently an Abattoir Standard have been introduced.

Today, some 700 apprentices have joined the scheme with 70 already qualified, 10 students attaining a distinction. The 9 failures recorded to date demonstrate the system is robust and with some resits taking place, training providers are continuously developing their skill levels.

The Institute for Apprentices, an independent public body, established to ensure apprenticeships are the best they can be, and meeting the needs of employers and students, is about to start a regulatory review of the first Butcher Standard.

We’re pleased to report that the Worshipful Company of Butchers, with its enviable reputation in meat industry training, is already engaged and supporting the activity.