Optimum Skills Apprentice Presented with National Award by HRH The Princess Royal at London Prize-giving Event

Josh Huitson, an apprentice with Optimum Skills. was named Best Retail Butchery Apprentice, at the Institute of Meat (IoM) and Worshipful Company of Butchers Annual Prize-giving, held at Butchers Hall in London, on 24th February.

Josh Huitson, who competed against apprentices from around the country has been working with Optimum Skills for 2 Years. They were presented with their certificate of achievement by HRH The Princess Royal, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers and Fellow of the Institute of Meat. They were also awarded a cheque to the value of £250 and a years honorary membership of The Institute of Meat.

The event is a firm fixture in the meat and poultry industry calendar but was cancelled last year due to COVID restrictions. Running for almost 30 years, the IoM Prize-giving seeks to recognise and celebrate individual achievement in the meat industry. Commenting on this years awards, Keith Fisher (F.Inst.M), Chief Executive of the IoM and himself a fourth generation Master Butcher, said,

“It’s been a tough couple of years for the food industry in general – butchers especially faced extraordinary pressures as demand soared to unprecedented heights during the lockdowns. For apprentices to achieve an award under such circumstances is quite remarkable.

The quality of the nominations we received demonstrates the calibre of the people joining the meat industry now. The winners can look forward to a fantastic, fulfilling career and I hope they inspire others to consider an apprenticeship.

I’m delighted that HRH The Princess Royal joined us to present the awards. It has given all the winners an extra sense of pride in their achievement.”

Fran Williamson, from Optimum Skills, said,

“Josh Huitson is both talented and determined to succeed in everything he does. He works incredibly hard and has excelled in his apprenticeship and end-point assessment. Josh thoroughly deserves this award. I’m sure he will remember this day for years to come.”

Josh Huitson, from Stoneygate Farm Shop, said,

“I was delighted when I found out that I had won the award ‘best retail apprentice butcher’.

Collecting the award from HRH Princess Anne was an honour, and an experience I will never forget. I look forward to working towards bigger and even better things in the future.

Undoubtedly the meat trade is hard work, but only through hard work and determination can the rewards be reaped in this trade.

I hope my success inspires other apprentices entering the meat trade to really work hard and take challenges head on, and eventually be rewarded like myself.”

For information about the prize-giving, or how to nominate an apprentice, please contact the Institute of Meat, at info@instituteofmeat.org. To find out more about meat industry apprenticeships visit www.FDQ.org.uk.