Well known Ballinasloe butcher Joe Hayes is the driving force behind the National Butchery Academy which is offering 50 places for unemployed people on a new Industrial Meat Processing course starting in January. The National Butchery Academy was recently launched by Eamon O Cuív TD, Minister for Social Protection, and applicants are expected from the entire region including Mayo which has a strong tradition in the meat industry.
The FETAC level 5 course will cover all butchery skills needed to start a career in the industry. It is being run in conjunction with the Danish Meat Trade College, Roskilda, which gives it Europass status. It is open to anyone over the age of 18 with a Junior Certificate who has been receiving unemployment benefits for at least three months.
Speaking at the launch Minister O Cuív commended the course as a “huge example of community looking at opportunity”. He went on to stress the importance of local people working together to create employment.
Graduates will have practical industrial meat processing skills and the knowledge needed to start a career in the meat industry. The course is the first of its kind to be delivered in Ireland in an industrial setting and will take place in the Hayes old shop premises in Ballinasloe.
Joe Hayes, a third generation butcher whose family business has been based in Ballinasloe since the 1800s, added: “Since I was starting off myself 30 odd years ago I’ve had the idea of setting up a course like this. It’s exactly the right timing now, there are positions available in the butchery trade for qualified people. Two years ago nearly 900 people from outside the EU were working in the meat trade in Ireland. Last year that number had almost halved. It is clear that there is an opportunity to train people for the meat industry”.
The course is free of charge for participants and candidates may be entitled to retain Social Welfare payments. The course is being funded through the Labour Market Activation Fund which supports training and education programmes for the unemployed who want to improve their education and skills.
The Industrial Meat Processing course will consist of four modules presented by expert tutors: pork butchery skills, beef butchery skills, safety and health at work, and workplace food safety and hygiene.
It will include theory, demonstrations and practical work and puts a strong focus on practical butchery skills development through supervised work in training facilities which mirror real work environments.
The course is limited to 50 participants and begins at the end of January. Applications must be in by January 12 and the selection process includes an interview. Further information from Andrew Hardiman at 090 9644397.