Co Tyrone man Steven Dobson has been named Northern Ireland's first master butcher by a body which encourages the highest standards within the meat industry.
Steven, who has worked in the meat industry for 25 years, now joins some of the top butchers in the United Kingdom after he was given the accolade by the Institute of Meat (IOM) and the Worshipful Company of Butchers (WCOB) in London.
Steven honed his skilled working at Dunbia in his hometown Dungannon and was instrumental in establishing a Butchery Hall for Leeds-based charity Caring for Life's Crag House Farm. This butchery project provides vulnerable residents with training in a range of skills including boning and trimming, burger and sausage production and meat packing with the aim of creating a self-sufficient and profitable farming and butchery business.
Mr Keith Fisher, chief executive for the Institute of Meat, said: "The journey of a master butcher is long and demanding and requires candidates to have a deep understanding and appreciation of the meat industry and be involved in all aspects of the wider supply chain from farming through to processing, manufacturing, the food service sector and retailing.
"The master butcher title is built on five pillars - butchery expertise, business acumen, food hygiene, integrity and attitude.
"Steven meets these attributes with flying colours and is a very deserving recipient of the Institute of Meat Accredited Master Butcher title."
Steven said: "It is a huge honour to become Northern Ireland's first Institute of Meat Accredited Master Butcher, particularly given the excellent butchers we have here.
"Dunbia has some of the best trainers and mentors in the country who support young trainees to become outstanding butchers and set them on a long-term career path.
"I was fortunate to be one of those trainees 20 odd years ago and to receive the highest butchery accolade is a dream come true."