Heartiest congratulations must go to Butchery Excellence Team Ireland, the members of which came out tops at the recent World Butchers’ Challenge event in Belfast. They really are the best butchers in the world.

And this is a tremendous accolade given that they were up against the best that countries such as France, the United States, Brazil and New Zealand could throw at them.

All of this reflects positively on the training that is available to local butchers as they progress their careers.

But, surely, it also highlights the tremendous career opportunities that currently exist within Ireland’s red meat sectors as a whole. 

The industry already underpins many thousands of jobs. And this number is set to increase further, once Brexit becomes a reality.

All of the analysis points to the red meat sectors in this country becoming even more export focused, once the UK leaves the European Union.

This, in turn, should provide many new opportunities for young people to secure employment at all levels within the industry as it looks to the future with a high degree of confidence.

Given this backdrop, there is a need for meat processors to become more proactive in promoting careers within their businesses.

In turn, this means getting out into the schools and telling the workforce of tomorrow about the opportunities that await them, should they consider developing a livelihood with the beef and lamb sectors.

Adding value is what meat processing is all about.

Most people will have no difficulty accepting this, where the actual meat is concerned. The challenge for the processors is that of confirming that the same principle holds when it comes to the development of the people they employ.

And it’s all about perception. All of the processors have put in place state-of-the-art training systems for their staff. But much more needs to be done in terms of communicating all of this to young people.

Meanwhile, Team Ireland’s success in the World Butchers’ Challenge provides the perfect backdrop for the red meat industry to tell its tremendously positive story to the public at large.

It’s not every day that a group of people from the local food industry has the opportunity to demonstrate that they are true champions in a forum that includes a selection of the world’s very best competitors.

Our reserved nature normally prohibits us from saying too much about these things. However, in my opinion, the success achieved at the World Butchers’ Challenge really is the exception that proves the rule!