A new academy to train the next generation of butchers is being built in Cornwall as part of a £600k expansion by the Brian Etherington Meat Company Limited.
The long-established Cornish business provides meat, poultry and catering products to customers across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, including Michelin starred restaurants.
It aims to address a decline in traditional butchery skills by offering courses from its base at Wheal Rose, near Scorrier, ranging from half-a-day to full training packages.
And even though the academy will not be up and running until January, it has already recruited its first students – the apprentices from Fifteen Cornwall at Watergate Bay. They will begin a 16-week course on April 1 at the company’s existing premises.
The academy is part of an expansion that will also see the company invest in a new farm shop and a pasty production facility. These are scheduled to open towards the end of the summer.
Approximately 30% of the eligible expenditure for the expansion project, currently under construction, is being funded with a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which was secured with the support of David Bullen, food and drink specialist from the corporate finance team at Francis Clark with Winter Rule in Truro.
Brian Etherington Meat Company managing director Mark Etherington, said: “We’re passionate about encouraging the next generation of butchers because we’ve seen a decline in traditional butchery skills despite growing demand for quality local produce, so our academy aims to plug that gap.
“We’re already seeing a lot of interest and are in discussions with both Cornwall College and the NFU.
Scott Bentley, corporate partner at Francis Clark with Winter Rule, said: “This is a great project and our food and drink team has worked with Mark from day one to help deliver the right funding package.
“There is financial support out there for growth-minded businesses but the challenge for many is where to look and keeping tabs on a changing landscape.”