New training programme to strengthen the skills of Maltese butchers

During a visit to the Public Slaughterhouse, Minister Anton Refalo and Minister Clifton Grima announced two new initiatives that will strengthen the skills of workers in the meat industry sector. The first initiative is the design of a training program with the Maltese College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), for the development of skills in the meat industry.

This is expected to address a current lack of skills in the industry, both at the butchery level and in other segments during the process that leads to the supply of meat. The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Anton Refalo explained that this training covers the entire process to ensure the quality of the meat, including training on the characteristics of meats and different cuts of meat; hygiene in food processing; tool retention; health and safety in meat processing; labelling; among other training. He went on to explain that the Public Slaughterhouse assessed the lack of skills and the demand for this training within the industry which led to the design of this program to provide the necessary training, both theory and practice.

The minister also explained that after discussions between the Veterinary Regulation Directorate and MCAST, apart from training will be given in relation to red meat which is actually killed in the slaughterhouse itself, training will also be given on white meat (poultry and rabbits) that is not killed in the Public Slaughterhouse. The General Director of the Public Slaughterhouse Stefan Cachia spoke about the importance of the entity being proactive in the way it helps to make the local meat industry truly sustainable. “This course is a way to address a lack in the sector so that we have quality meat at a good price. Therefore it is important to have someone who knows how to work and deliver to the consumer,” said Mr. Cachia.

The second initiative is the renewal of an agreement between the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights with MCAST, through which the relationship and collaboration between the -both parts. The Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation Clifton Grima said, “It is an important mission of ours to provide training in every sector of the economy to continue creating not only opportunities, but also what the student needs so that his studies are holistic and affect every aspect of what he is learning in class. We are doing this in collaboration with other ministries and also through MCAST, which today is an educational institution that is giving great opportunities to all those who have aspirations for their careers”.

Professor Joachim James Calleja, Principal and Chief Executive of MCAST, said, “Proactively, MCAST is addressing various sectors where there is a lack of skills. Among these we find the sectors of agriculture, aquaculture and animal science. This course will open up training opportunities both for those who already work in the sector, as well as for those who wish to start working in this industry. On September 4th we will reopen the second call for applications for the courses that start in October”.