A food operative at Avara Foods’ Holly Bank site in Derbyshire has been named Poultry Apprentice of the Year at the Institute of Meat and The Worshipful Company of Butchers Awards 2019.

This year’s awards were presented by HRH The Princess Royal and are a celebration of achievement for outstanding learners, apprentices or providers in the meat industry.

Originally from Hungary, this year’s winner, Eva Szabo, joined Avara Foods’ Holly Bank site in 2011.

Taking advantage of the company’s learning and development opportunities, she joined the apprenticeship programme two years ago.

Eva’s role has been varied and progressive; she has enjoyed seasonal promotions to become a process leader during the company’s busy Christmas period, helping manage temporary workers and has learnt many new technical skills.

She has found her work at Holly Bank rewarding, learning about food safety, health and safety in the workplace, modern meat production and developing her understanding of best butchery practice.

“The company Apprenticeship Programme has improved my overall self-confidence, as well as allowing me to develop practical skills,” Szabo said.

It’s increased my understanding of the wider poultry industry and given me the opportunity to progress professionally.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me achieve this award, I couldn’t have done it without their support.”

Phil Urech, butchery and training section manager at Avara Foods, Holly Bank added: “Eva has always showed such dedication and determination to succeed – she truly is an example to others at Avara Foods, and the wider industry.

“It’s been a pleasure helping her learn our trade and watching her skills develop and confidence grow over the past two years. I look forward to watching her progress further with our company.”

Avara Foods is one of the UK’s largest food businesses, supplying chicken, turkey and duck to retailers, food service and food manufacturers.

Established in 2018, the company operates a fully integrated supply chain, across agriculture, processing and distribution. The firm employs around 6,000 people.