To celebrate #NationalButchersWeek DYW Dundee and Angus took the opportunity to interview one of Dundee’s longest established butchers and a local institution, Scott Brothers, specifically co-owner Scott Jarron.
Scott is the third generation in his family to work as a butcher, the original shop was opened in 1935 by his grandfather George Jarron and the family have been involved in the local community ever since.
Scott Brothers feel that it is their responsibility as a successful business in the local economy to give back to the community, whether through charitable giving or by working with the community. “We are part of Dundee and it is our responsibility to give back.” Scott Brothers are passionate about Dundee and the people who call it home. As a result they have been offering apprenticeships since the 1950’s. They currently have five apprentices on staff and take great pride in the work they achieve.
Each apprenticeship lasts two years and is accredited by the Scottish Federation of Meat and Trading Association. One of the hardest jobs Scott has to do is determine which apprentices will be kept on once they have completed their training. While Scott Brothers is the leading butcher in the Dundee area, with three shops and a thriving internet business, they unfortunately can’t maintain all of the staff they train. However Scott knows that his former apprentices have received the highest standard of training; both in the required knife skills needed to butcher and the much desired soft skills (customer service) which make the most successful butchers, and as such they will be snapped up wherever they go.
Scott knows from experience that a good butcher is very reliant on good social skills. “A fraction of what we require is knife handling and handling fresh meats. The most successful route for a butcher is customer facing and that’s what people buy into.” Every butcher needs to be able to speak to their customers, find out what they are looking for, offer relevant advice and build a relationship with them to keep them coming back.
Rachel from DYW D&A interviewed Scott in his office at the Strathmartine Road shop.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up I wanted to be involved in finance, maybe banking.
What made you become a butcher?
Being part of this family made me want to become a butcher, carrying on the legacy. But I do love being a butcher, speaking to customers, having a laugh, getting to know the customers as well as getting stuck-in and pushing the staff on when we are busy.
What skills/type of person do you need to be a good butcher?
To be a good butcher you need to have a flexible attitude, able to interact with colleagues and customers and a good butcher has to want to learn. It isn’t school, its hands on, but it’s still learning.
What are the best and worst things about being a butcher?
The best thing about being a butcher is the customers. The worst thing can be the long hours.
What do you think the future of butchering looks like?
I don’t know. There will always be a place in the community for a butcher, either a traditional butcher or a high street retailer. There is a want to support small businesses at the moment. A want to support local businesses, if that continues there will definitely be a place for butchers and for the community.
What is your favourite cut of meat and how would you cook it?
My favourite would be sirloin of beef. Roasted for Sunday dinner and served with horseradish and mustard.
Is there anything else you want people to know?
People shouldn’t get caught up in a certificate, many have become devalued. People need to keep persevering and if one method doesn’t work for you try another. Try an apprenticeship instead of university. Try college, try a job. Just keep trying. Sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, so take advantage of every family friend and every connection you have to go after what you want to achieve.
Scott knows that Dundee is an up and coming area that is investing in itself. Scott believes that this must include investment in young people and that those businesses who are successful in Dundee need to be a part of this and re-invest their success into the next generations. His philosophy is that there are young people out there who are willing to learn and willing to be a part of the local community. But not all learning has to be done at school. Degrees don’t suit everyone. Apprenticeships offer opportunities to learn, mature and progress in work (and life) as well as support local communities in the immediate and the long term.
This is a belief that Developing the Young Workforce share. If you are interested in giving back to the local community or supporting local young people, DYW Dundee and Angus can support you in a variety of ways, all tailored to your business, your aims and your resources.