Traditional skills are valued by superstore

Morrisons butchery manager Jason Beresford and apprentice Tom Hudson.
Morrisons butchery manager Jason Beresford and apprentice Tom Hudson.

Morrisons has transformed its Morecambe store into a Craft Skills Academy.

The store, which re-launched on May 22, is championing the traditional skills of its staff who work across the butchers, bakers and fishmongers, while promoting these craft skills through its apprenticeship scheme in the store.

Jason Beresford, 42 and Tom Hudson, 23, are two advocates of Morrisons Craft Skills Academy.

Jason, who is meat manger, has more than 25 years of experience as a butcher and says it’s no different today to when he first started in the trade when he was 16.

He said: “The skills I use on a daily basis are the same skills I learnt when I started out; we’re even making our own sausages on the counter which is something I did in my first job.”

He has been responsible for training up Tom Hudson who will qualify with an IPQ qualification in butchery next month.

As part of his 12-month apprenticeship he has shadowed Jason and completed four, week-long intensive training courses at Blackpool College.

At college he learned about the bone structure of different animals, how to trim the meat and how to make the products for sale on the counter such as sausages and black pudding.

He will also take part in cookery classes to ensure he knows how best to prepare each meat and can advise customers on this.

Tom said: “I think that learning on the job from someone who really knows what they’re doing is the best experience you can get and it’s good to know that the Craft Skills Academy will encourage other people to learn a proper trade and keep the traditions going.”

As part of the transformation into a skills academy, Morrisons has also re-vamped the interior of the Central Drive store.

The new-look store boasts the latest in misting technology to keep fruit and vegetables fresher for longer, a new flower shop, pizza counter and a wider choice of fruit and vegetables including some more unusual lines.

The introduction of the Craft Skills Academy has also seen more than 28 staff trained in food and wine matching so they can recommend good combinations to customers.

The store’s craft skills specialists have increased the number of products they make from scratch and the butchers’ and bakers’ counters have been opened up so shoppers can see the specialists at work.

Store manager, Greg Matthews, said: “The transformation of the store is incredible.”