Pilgrim’s UK is launching a Butchery & Abattoir Academy to recruit new talent into the industry and creating dedicated facilities at its sites.

In light of the well-publicised labour challenges facing the food and farming sector, the business is investing in the programme to support skills development in UK-based workers and open up new opportunities for people to develop a career in the sector.

Open to any UK-based applicants, aspiring butchers will complete a Level 2 Butchery and Abattoir apprenticeship with the business’s training provider, Bishop Burton College. Each new recruit will be trained to a high standard, involving a mixture of classroom learning and working with the experienced on-site team.

Applications are now open, offering successful applicants the opportunity to become a Level 2 apprentice within 18 months at a competitive rate of pay whilst training. The business is also offering ongoing development opportunities for those individuals who are keen to progress into supervisor roles, with Level 3 apprenticeships available upon completion.

The business is also supporting the Skilled Worker pipeline by recruiting overseas labour, predominantly from the Philippines where interest in butchery and manufacturing roles has been particularly high. Pilgrim’s UK’s Head of Butchery has played an instrumental role in recruiting the new employees from the Philippines and helping them settle into life in the UK, with the number of recruits doubling between April and August.

Konrad Pacholski, Head of Butchery Development at Pilgrim’s UK, said: “We’re really excited to be launching the Butchery Academy – recruiting people of all levels and abilities into the sector and educating them on the opportunities available is something I’m personally very passionate about. Labour challenges are impacting a number of industries and it’s something we’re working hard to tackle at Pilgrim’s UK as one of the UK’s largest food and farming businesses. We hope this trial is successful so we can continue to expand our offering in the years to come.”

Rachel Baldwin, Vice President, Human Resources at Pilgrim’s UK, said: “We’re committed to providing training and employment opportunities as a business, which is why we’re being proactive in putting programmes like this in place. Labour shortages continue to put a strain on the sector, so we hope that this initiative will go some way in helping to attract recruits into our industry and promote the opportunities available.”