'I'm so proud': Apprentice at local butcher wins national award

'I'm so proud': Apprentice at local butcher wins national award <i>(Image: Craft Skills Scotland)</i>
'I'm so proud': Apprentice at local butcher wins national award (Image: Craft Skills Scotland)

An apprentice at a local butcher has won a national award.

James Mitchell recently qualified in his new career which he 'loves' after switching from engineering to butchery.

He got a job with award-winning Cooper Quality Butcher in Bellshill and, after putting some considerable hard graft into the trade, has been recognised as one of the country's brightest butchery stars.

The 26-year-old, from Greengairs near Airdrie, has been named Scottish Craft Butchers SVQ Level 3 Modern Apprentice of the Year in a fiercely contested competition.

Speaking about the achievement, he said: “I’m so proud.

“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.

“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.”

James stood out as an exemplary apprentice throughout his training by bringing his skills, experience and inspiration garnered from his background as a farmer's son.

He also mentors new trainers at Cooper and has even created training videos to support his own personal development.

Craft Skills Scotland assessor Willie, who nominated James, said: “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.

“He is always thinking outwith the box and felt this opportunity could act as a trade-off with producers and consumers both benefitting.”

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Cooper owner Laura Black feels that James has been a “great addition” to her team, adding: “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.

“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: “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.

“When I see the breadth and depth of talent among all our apprentices, I realise our industry can look forward to a bright future.”