Meat business launches academy to develop skilled staff

Posted on by karen.smith

English | Cymraeg

Mike Smith, Celtica Foods’ development officer, with apprentices.

Mike Smith, Celtica Foods’ development officer, with apprentices.

A desire to attract, develop and retain employees from the surrounding area persuaded Celtica Foods, a West Wales catering butchery and meat processing business, to develop its own training academy.

The Cross Hands-based company has a workforce of 75 and a turnover of £12.8 million. It supplies the hospitality and foodservice sector and many of its products are bespoke to individual customers, requiring skilled butchers to process orders.

Now Celtica Foods has been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru. The company will be competing to become Medium Employer of the Year at the prestigious awards ceremony at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport on October 20.

Jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), the coveted awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.

Thirty star learners, employers and learning providers involved in the delivery of successful skills programmes across Wales have been shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

The awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the outstanding achievements of learners, employers, tutors and assessors who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships and Apprenticeship programmes.

Celtica Foods, a division of food wholesaler Castell Howell Foods Ltd, recognised that one of the potential business threats was the age profile of senior butchers – averaging 49 years – and the changing labour market meant fewer skilled butchers were available for recruitment.

Edward Morgan, Celtica Foods’ managing director, said: “The dynamics of employment within the UK meat sector has resulted in a gap of school leavers entering the trade.”

The company needed to attract younger employees and give them a full range of butchery skills to meet the requirements of the catering and hospitality sector.

Therefore, a training academy was established and qualifications, ranging from Foundation Apprenticeships in Meat and Poultry and Food Industry Skills to a Higher Apprenticeship in Food Manufacturing Excellence, are delivered by training provider Cambrian Training Company. Over the past decade, 114 staff have completed apprenticeship programmes and the company currently has nine apprentices.

“It is noticeable that the apprentices are enthused with their continual learning and they respond well to the time invested,” added Edward.

Praising the standard of applicants this year and congratulating Celtica Foods on being shortlisted for an award, Skills and Science Minister, Julie James said: “This year’s shortlisted entrants include exceptional individuals who have excelled in their workplace and learning providers and employers that have gone the extra mile to support the apprentices they are working with. Their stories never cease to amaze and inspire.

“Apprenticeships and vocational skills training are essential ingredients of economic success and vital tools in building a stronger, fairer and more equal Wales.

“These awards provide a perfect platform to celebrate success and reward the hard work and dedication of learners, employers and training providers across Wales. I wish everyone the very best of luck for the night.”

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