BBM awardee’s trip of a lifetime

Matthew Papandrea has recently returned home after participating in the 2013 BBM Skilled Futures Program in the UK and a three week stint across Europe where he undertook work placement in some of Europe’s highest profile butcher shops.

Matthew was selected to be a part of the BBM Skilled Futures Program following his gold medal success in the Meat Retailing category at the 2012 WorldSkills Australia National Competition, Sydney.

During the two week leadership program, Matthew alongside 15 of his fellow BBM teammates, faced a series of mentally and physically challenging team activities including a sinking ship simulator, mountain biking and trekking.

Matthew highlights rock climbing Parcels Nose and walking the highest summit in the UK as his greatest achievement of the leadership program. In teams of three and harnessed together, Matthew says, “this challenging activity showed me that during the tough times, we have to stick together as a team, rather than break up and let things crumble. We knew as a team that if one member fell we all would fall. We motivated each other to complete the challenge.”

Following the program, Matthew undertook a variety of work placements across Europe, this included visiting a butcher store in Denmark known as Slagterfrimann, Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa in the United Kingdom and Lidgates butchery in London. Matt also found himself on a tour of the Vemag factory, a well-known manufacturer of meat and sausages in Germany as well as joining a butchery class at one of London’s leading stores, the Ginger Pig.

”I was given the opportunity to pursue my passion in different countries, from Germany, the king of the sausage to Denmark the king of small goods and then to London’s where I was able to experience the historic and traditional butchery culture. My work experience was invaluable. I now have the experience of working in teams and have also gained knowledge about the culture of my industry. I learnt about new products and gained insight into different styles of working, all of which I can utilise here in Australia to further my career in the industry,” said Matthew.

Matthew was also provided with the opportunity to meet a variety of industry experts, including a meat manager at Harrods, a world famous department store, Matthew says, “My surprise visit to Harrods was a highlight of my trip. Harrods has one of the most exquisite meat sections in London. I enjoyed a cooked steak and built a relationship with the meat manager, a great contact to have in this giant, high-class store. It was a real surprise experience.”

Now back home in Australia, Matthew credits WSA and TAFE for the opportunities that have been presented to him, “my WorldSkills journey has been the greatest experience of my life and has changed me as a person. It’s made me more passionate and enthusiastic about pursing my future goals.”