A talented North Wales butcher was named Apprentice of the Year at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards, which were held in Cardiff.
Ben Roberts, 30, from M. E. Evans Traditional Butchers, Overton on Dee, received the award fittingly from Arwyn Watkins, OBE, managing director of Cambrian Training Company, who sponsored the category.
He’s a member of the Craft Butchery Team Wales that will be competing for the first time at the World Butchers Challenge in Sacramento, USA in September. Apart from competing with the team, he will also be competing individually as the team’s apprentice.
Cambrian Training Company is delivering Ben’s apprenticeships for the Welsh Government. He has recently completed an Apprenticeship in Food Management and is progressing to an Apprenticeship in Business Management, with the aim of eventually running his own business.
Having finished third in the Butchery WorldSkills UK final last year, Ben was delighted to win the Wales Food and Drink Apprentice of the Year.
“I was shocked to win the award,”
said Ben, who is also an Apprentice of the Year finalist in the annual Cambrian Training Company Apprenticeship, Employment and Skills Awards.
“Having sat on a table with all the shortlisted finalists, I know how strong the competition was. I consider it a huge accolade for what I have achieved so far on apprenticeships programmes. Hopefully, I can use it as a springboard for future success.”
Mr Watkins said:
“Ben is an outstanding example of career progression using the Welsh Government’s apprenticeship programme.
“He is totally dedicated to his craft which is emphasised by his commitment to the Craft Butcher Team Wales and benchmarking himself against butchers from across the UK and around the world.”
The Wales Food and Drink Awards were set up to celebrate and showcase the best food and drink producers in Wales, whatever their size. Founders are Liz Brookes, director of Grapevine Event Management and broadcaster, Sian Lloyd.
The independent judging panel was chaired by Robin Jones, managing director of Wrexham based, award-winning Village Bakery.