Shaping the Future of the Meat Industry with New Graduate and Apprenticeship Development Programmes

  • “Brighter Futures” programme seeking talented Graduates from around the UK and Ireland
  • Launch of New Butchery Academy at Highland Meats in Scotland to maintain and develop critical skills in the meat processing industry
  • Launch of Apprenticeship programmes in Dungannon, Co Tyrone

Dunbia has launched three dedicated training and development programmes, which will help shape and enhance the future skills of the UK’s meat processing industry. The programmes will cater for young people and graduates who want to embark on a career within the sector, as well as supporting those already working in the industry, with upskilling and further professional development.

Dunbia’s nationwide Graduate programme for 2020, ‘Brighter Futures’, is seeking to attract talented and ambitious Graduates, who wish to experience different aspects of the Dunbia business including Livestock Procurement, Manufacturing Operations, Food Safety & Quality, Sales/Commercial, Engineering, Accounting and Finance, New Product Development, Human Resources and Sustainability, during the course of a two-year programme.

Continuous development and training are central to the programme which seeks to support the development of Graduates into Dunbia leaders of the future. Graduates on the “Brighter Futures” programme will have access to dedicated mentors, providing 1-to-1 coaching, and will participate in a bespoke management development programme with fast track career progression. Representatives from Dunbia and Dawn Meats have been meeting with interested applicants at Graduate fairs around the UK and Ireland. More information can be found at:

Dunbia’s Highland Meats in North Ayrshire has launched a new Butchery Academy in collaboration with Scottish Meat Training. At a time when demand for local beef is rising in the UK, Dunbia feel it is important to proactively engage with their teams to ensure they have the required skills for the future. This programme, lasting between twelve and fourteen months, will focus on developing knowledge and skills in key areas such as product knowledge, learning to identify the different cuts of meat, whilst also developing knife skills in areas of trimming and boning as the apprentices’ progress through the training.

The Craft Butchers from Scottish Meat Training will work closely with Dunbia’s management team in Highland Meats, in assessing the apprentices’ as they work toward a Level 2 accreditation in food and drink operations (meat skills). This accreditation is a recognised qualification across the industry.

Another exciting programme of development has been launched in Dunbia’s Dungannon site, in N. Ireland, where Dunbia have introduced three apprenticeship programmes across a range of functions:

  • Level 2 and 3 in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills
  • Level 5 Higher Level Apprenticeship in Food and Drink
  • Level 3 Diploma in Engineering

Commenting on the launch of these initiatives, Caroline Heagney-Walsh, Dunbia’s Head of HR – Northern Ireland said:

“Attracting new talent into our industry is essential for future growth and sustainability. We must ensure that we have engaging and robust training and development programmes to support knowledge and skill development, enabling us to provide clear pathways for career progression and helping develop our leaders of the future. All three of our initiatives clearly demonstrate the commitment our business has to creating exciting opportunities within the meat industry. We are future-focused, providing real opportunities to develop a great career.”


Working across key areas such as supply chain, animal welfare, and sustainable agriculture, you will get involved in all aspects of the agriculture and research and development areas within the business.


This varied role will provide you with an opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the Environmental department and participate in continuous improvement projects within a fast-paced food manufacturing environment.

Human Resources

As your skills and knowledge develop over time, you will get involved in all aspects of HR within a fast-paced food manufacturing environment and your responsibility will increase.

Retail National Account Management

This exciting role will see you gain a wide range of business experience skills, providing support to major UK retail supermarket customer accounts. 

Operations & Commercial

Work in a fast-paced food manufacturing environment gaining a hands-on experience across all aspects of operations, production and commercial with a focus on continuous improvement. 

New Product Development

You will be involved in supporting and managing the NPD process to ensure new and re-developed products are launched successfully. 

Livestock procurement

An exciting opportunity to learn about all areas of livestock procurement within the business, gaining a full understanding of production and operations.

Food Safety & Quality

A hands-on opportunity to understand and impact on food safety, quality and animal welfare across a fast-paced food manufacturing environment. Ensuring legislative compliance, customer excellence and continuous improvement.

Mechanical Engineering

As an engineering graduate you will be hands on and, on the go, working in a fast paced, busy environment overseeing electrical, mechanical and automation projects in a food manufacturing business.

Accounting & Finance

Gain a robust understanding in all aspects of the Finance Function with support at every step of the way to attain the professional qualifications needed to become a finance leader of the future.