Meat needs SLMSC

Let’s be clear… across the EU, the meat production & processing industry is of vital importance both in terms of turnover and employment.  Abattoirs play a key role in the meat supply chain; yet they are closing down fast, dropping from 1000 to approximately 200 in Ireland in 20 years, with similar trends in UK, Denmark, Finland and Spain.  If not facing closure, the vast majority face a decline in profits & competivity; leading to the loss of income and jobs. In addition given their rural location, it is often difficult to re-training/reintegrating staff into the labour market.    The decline is partly due to external factors: stringent international legislation, dominance of multinational retailers, rising consumer quality demands &scrutiny by nutritional/environmental groups.  However, the meat sector continues to grow (eg +2% in Ireland in 2008) and there is strong consumer preference for locally produced food. Therefore, internal obstacles – short-term management focus & lack of business development skills in a sector largely focused on technical and operational requirements – are also limiting abbatoirs’ growth potential.

Clear training need

The SLMSC team identified 200 managers in the abattoir industry serving a supply chain of over 2,500 farmers, 68% of companies surveyed believed training is vital to remain competitive.

Little collaboration to date between the abattoirs & VET institutions

Few organisations bridge the gap between expert abattoir knowledge & experienced VET provision. The health & environmental scares & the sheer volume of legislation has provided enormous challenges, drawing their focus inwards and inhibiting innovation. While VET institutions view the meat industry as a commodity industry with little scope for product differentiation. Our Danish partner is uniquely focused on this issue.

Disclaimer

LLP/LdV/TOI/2011/IRL-502 This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The author is solely responsible for this publication (communication) and the Commission accepts no responsibility for any use may be made of the information contained therein.