THE YORKSHIRE Agricultural Society is urging unemployed young people to consider a career as a butcher.

The organisation said two-thirds of butchery businesses are worried about their future, with no one to take over from the current management.

Paul Nicholson, master butcher at Fodder, the society’s flagship food hall in Harrogate, said: “Many butchers are desperate for eager young people to learn the skills of the trade and continue the art of traditional British butchery that is in danger of being lost.”

According to Ed Bedington, editor of the Meat Trades Journal, the number of high street butchers has dropped from about 22,000 in the mid-1990s to 6,553 in 2012. Fodder is now working with Leeds City College’s Thomas Danby campus to offer apprenticeships to students studying Butchery Retail Skills.

Paul added: “The butchery trade needs to broaden its appeal to young people and one of the ways of doing that is offering apprenticeships and giving young people a viable career, developing skills and gaining qualifications. They learn the basics at college but it is here, behind the butchery counter, they can build on this knowledge and gain the customer service skills necessary to be a great butcher.”