Champion Tomi aims to be a cut above the rest in VQ Final

Posted on by karen.smith

Tomi Jones at work

Talented young butcher Tomi Jones, who has already proved he’s a cut above the rest in his vocation, is in the running for a national award.

As a result of her learning success, the 22-year-old, who runs Jones’ Butchers in Llangollen, has been named a finalist in the EU-backed VQ Learner of the Year Award. The final takes place on June 5 – VQ Day – at a ceremony to be held at Coleg Morgannwg, Nantgarw in South Wales.

He will be up against Helen Wynne, who runs Blythswood Childminding Services in Wrexham and former Cardiff and Vale College student Leo Hacker, who now works for Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London.

Tomi, who won the Welsh Young Butcher Competition 2012 last December, has also been selected to represent Wales in The National Federation of Meat and Food Traders’ Premier Young Butcher competition at the NEC Birmingham on July 2.

He is looking forward to the challenge of facing the best in Britain in a three and half hour competition with five elements and is delighted to be a VQ Learner of the Year finalist.

“Winning these competitions would be my greatest achievement and would definitely put me on the map,” said Jones, who is already somewhat of a local celebrity, having been filmed this year for S4C’s ‘Cegin Bryn’ with chef Bryn Williams and cbbc’s ‘Disaster Chefs’ with Joe Swash.

Jones was nominated for the VQ award by his training provider, Cambrian Training Company, based in Welshpool. His training officer Trevor Davies and the company’s head of curriculum for food manufacture, Chris Jones, are coaching and mentoring him in the run up to the Premier Young Butcher competition.

Having achieved a Foundation Apprenticeship in Butchery Retail Skills, he is now working towards an apprenticeship in Butchery Skills whilst also running a shop and employing two apprentices.

The third generation of his family to run the butcher’s business, he is passionate about the industry and promoting butchery as an interesting and rewarding career for young people.

“Tomi has achieved excellence in a short period of time and is an inspirational example to other apprentices,” said Chris Jones. “He has only been in the industry for four years yet has achieved so much, including 40 gold awards for excellence in his products.”

Wales’ Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Jeff Cuthbert said: “ It’s important that vocational qualifications become, and remain, first choice options for our brightest and best learners and that their worth is fully recognised. VQ Day plays a key role in securing that objective.

“Vocational qualifications haven’t always enjoyed the high-profile and public esteem that they deserve but, as employers will readily testify, they are immensely valuable in preparing people for successful careers in many different fields. They are the cornerstone of a competitive economy.

“One of my priorities since being appointed Deputy Minister has been to ensure that vocational qualifications are recognised alongside academic qualifications for their value to the individual and society.

“That is why, following an independent review of qualifications, the Welsh Government is already taking steps to ensure that vocational qualifications remain relevant, valued and fit for the future.

“I hope that this year’s VQ Day will inspire even more individuals to consider a vocational pathway to success, further cementing the position of vocational qualifications at the heart of our economy and national life.”

VQ Day and the VQ Awards are co-ordinated in Wales by ColegauCymru and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) with the support of the Welsh Government and part funded by the European Social Fund.

Three regional events in Wales will celebrate VQ Day by shining a spotlight on the quality, variety and diversity of vocational qualifications.

In North Wales, Deeside College’s Connah’s Quay Campus is arranging hands-on demonstrations of vocational skills assisted by a range of post-16 education and training providers.

The South West Wales Regional Learning Partnership will also provide hands-on opportunities at Aberavon Shopping Centre, Swansea City Centre and St Elli Shopping Centre in Llanelli. Local radio will be supporting the day across Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Apart from hosting the VQ Awards ceremony, Coleg Morgannwg’s Nantgarw Campus will bring education and training providers together with employers to lead workshops and hands-on opportunities.

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