Two foundational certificate courses aimed at training up “meat-cutting technicians” have been warmly received, with around 130 individuals expressing interest in the classes, for which only 40 places are on offer.

The Employees’ Retraining Board held a meat-cutting performance on Wednesday to promote the two new courses, which aim at equipping individuals interested in becoming butchers with different sets of professional skills.

Last year, the local meat industry changed the name of butchers to “meat-cutting technicians” in order to improve the industry’s image and attract younger trainees amid a city-wide butcher shortage.

Promotional leaflet for meat cutting course. Photo: erb.org.

A briefing and recruitment session will be held on April 22 and about 130 people have registered to attend, most of whom are middle-aged individuals, Ming Pao reported.

Each class, which consists of 120 hours of basic training, has a quota of 20 and is scheduled to commence in May. The first batch of students will graduate in June and if their employment prospects look good after a three-month probation period, the classes may be reopened at the end of the year, Employees Retraining Board CAO Ng Ka-Kwong said.

The ERB held a meat-cutting performance show on Wednesday. Photo: Apple Daily.

Upon completion of the course and the probation period, graduates could receive a two-year contract and their monthly salary could reach HK$18,000. Relevant employers and industry associations have already promised to hire over 80 percent of the graduates, Apple Daily reported.

Pork Traders’ General Association of Hong Kong representative Hui Wai-Kin said that many butchers are already over 60 years of age and, if there are no newcomers, there will be a temporary shortage in the industry. Hui said that they hope to eventually attract around 200 to 300 to join the industry.

Hui also said that they were looking for those who were passionate and serious about joining the industry. The sex of the applicant does not matter, Hui said, and they would have a shot at being hired so long as they possess average physical strength.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.