Booths Butcher Training Academy

Colin Porter
A young Colin Porter

Pioneered by our own Colin Porter, Booths are now proudly offering a Butchers Training Academy to our in store colleagues. Almost 40 years ago, Colin started his own Booths journey on the meat and fish counters in our St Annes store, where he began to develop his butchery skills. It’s Colin’s current job as our Customer Experience Manager to make sure all of our customers have an enjoyable visit to our stores and get a true ‘Great Northern Welcome’.

Colin identified there was potential in our Specialist areas to improve our customers counter experience through colleagues skills, knowledge and understanding of the meat industry as well as the day to day running of the meat counter. He then enlisted the help of our Operational Trainers David and Mark to ensure the students are getting a wealth of knowledge and support from our experts.

What’s involved?

An academy training centre has been set up at our Garstang store where one-on-one training can be given by Colin and his team. As part of their training, the students not only learn how to prepare the various cuts of meat that you would find on our counter, but they develop their skills in preparing monthly feature cuts and a understanding of how various cuts need preparing and cooking. As well as preparation and traditional butchery, students also learn about seasonal products, how to present the counters in an appealing manner as well as hints and tips to share with our customers.

We have an academy social group on WhatsApp that allows every academy colleague to share ideas, showcase their learnings as well as ask questions from other group members, which is a fantastic way of sharing and inspiring each other. I’ll also create regular videos to not only support our ‘craft and skill’ programme but also how to prepare and cook certain dishes/ cuts of meat. I think it is really important that the students have a good understanding of how to cook the products they are selling so they are able to make suggestions and recommendations to our customers. We want our colleagues to start thinking more like a chef, so they can start to really inspire everyone who shops with us.

Colin Porter

Every colleagues goes through an intensive 12-16 weeks training programme that runs alongside their store working hours. As well as their one-on-one learning and support from Colin and his team, the students are expected to complete assessments set by Colin to ensure all expectations are met. After the sign off from the programme, the learning continues with ongoing support from the regional trainers, monthly update meetings and planned for the future quarterly academy training days to re-asses skills, knowledge, train out new cuts and new ways of working.

We want those who have taken part to feel valued, supported and they have been invested in. They have complete ownership of their skillset and can begin to pave their own progression path.

Colin Porter.

Meet the Team

David Chambers, Specialist Team Leader at Penwortham store has been with Booths for 11 years.

“I wanted to pass on more knowledge to the rest of my team and give our customers a better in store experience. The academy is an important programme to be a part of because it gives you even more knowledge and confidence especially when recommending products to customers. It’s also been great to meet people from other stores.”

Charlotte Hoole, Specialist Team Leader at Lytham store has worked for for 6 years.

“I was handpicked by Colin to take part in the Academy. The academy is important because it gives colleagues like myself more confidence, as well as improving knife skills so we can provide products for our customers. It also helps with communication skills and ensuring customers get Great Northern Welcome.”

Dan Kellet, Specialist Team Leader at Longridge store has worked for Booths for 8 years.

“As the head butcher I was chosen to be the first one from store to take part in the Butchers Academy. I think the academy is important because it gives us a better understanding of being a butcher. I have seen a massive change in how the counter looks and how staff have been since being on the course. It is important to communicate with customers and find out exactly what they are doing with the product to see if you can offer a suitable alternative or provide some inspiration.”

Alan Eccleston, Specialist Team Leader at Longton store has worked for Booths for 3 years.

“My main interest is the art of the “Master Butcher” and learning as much as I can about various butcher cuts and techniques and putting them into practice. By taking part of the Academy we’ve been able to develop our butcher skills, cooking methods and customer interaction, as well as stock management, counter displays and merchandising. At Longton, we’ve already seen a positive impact on the counters meaning we’re providing the absolute best service to our customers.”

Dave Wilson, Operational Trainer has worked for Booths for 21 years.

“My role is to support and train the Academy students to world class standards required to pass their course and improve skills within the department. The Academy has been a much needed investment to help advance the standard of the in store counters, allowing us to provide a consistent service across the company.”

Mark Fereday, Operational Trainer has worked for Booths for 13 years.

“My role sits within our Learning & Development team and offer support to our Butcher Academy delegates to become skilled and knowledgeable in the provenance of our fantastic meat products and providing a warm Northern Welcome to our customers.”

To read more about Our People, click here.