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How do I become a Butcher?

Are you thinking about taking the next step in your career? Do you enjoy working with people, have a keen eye for detail and enjoy being on your feet? Then a career in Butchery might be for you! This month, we’re partnering with Catholic Education South Australia and Balhannah Butchery to bring you our Job of the Month, Butcher.

What is a Butcher?

A butcher prepares meat for sale and for the production of meat-based products (e.g. cured meats and sausages). Butchers typically work with both red and white meat from farm-raised animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goat and poultry) and wild game.

Butchers are also responsible for ensuring that meat is stored in accordance with all relevant food hygiene and safety requirements in order to maintain its quality. This involves ensuring a constant temperature in cold storage rooms to prevent spoilage. Butchers are also required to keep all work areas and tools (e.g. knives, cleavers, saws and slicers) clean and in good condition.

Is a career in Meat Processing right for me?

Is a career in Meat Processing right for me?

Before committing to an apprenticeship, it's important to do your research to find out if Butchery is suited to you. As well as educational prerequisites, there a few personal qualities that will help you determine if a career as a Butcher is the job for you:

- Keen eye for detail
- Good spatial awareness
- Self-motivated
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Hand and eye coordination

How do I find a job as a Butcher?

If you are wondering how to start an apprenticeship, the first step is to find an employer who will have an open position for you. There are many different ways to find an apprenticeship, starting from job search sites online to door-knocking, or via Group Training Organisations. To get started, have a look at these job search sites and look for any open positions that may be advertised.

It is also advised to network with others in the industry and connect with employers. Watch Pat who is an apprentice Butcher, share how he found an apprenticeship position in this video. Watch him talk about his apprenticeship journey while studying a Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher)

Play video

What can I expect to be doing as an Meat Processing apprentice?

A Meat Processing apprenticeship takes 4 years to complete and includes a range of on-the-job and off-the-job training. Over the course of the apprenticeship, you will learn about different aspects of the job. This will help you build the necessary skills and knowledge to operate independently in the future.

Through on-the-job and off-the-job training, you will learn to:

  • Practical butchery skills
  • How the meat industry is structured and functions
  • Cooking and retail operations
  • Essentials on storing meat
  • Customer service and merchandising skills
  • Retail operations
  • Team leadership skills
  • Hygiene and sanitation practices
  • Safe work policies and procedures

During your apprenticeship, you may be trained and assessed in the following:

  • Apply hygiene and sanitation practices
  • Assess and sell poultry product
  • Assess carcase or product quality
  • Break and cut product using a bandsaw
  • Clean a meat retail work area
  • Communicate in the workplace
  • Cure, corn and sell product
  • Follow safe work policies and procedures
  • Identify species and meat cuts
  • Locate, identify and assess meat cuts
  • Maintain personal equipment
  • Make and sell sausages
  • Manage stock
  • Meet customer needs
  • Merchandise products, services
  • Overview the meat industry
  • Prepare and operate bandsaw
  • Prepare and produce value added products
  • Prepare and slice meat cuts
  • Prepare minced meat and minced meat products
  • Prepare primal cuts
  • Prepare specialised cuts
  • Provide advice on cooking and storage of meat products
  • Provide advice on nutritional role of meat
  • Select, weigh and package meat for sale
  • Sharpen knives
  • Store meat product
  • Trim meat for further processing
  • Trim meat to specifications
  • Use basic methods of meat cookery
What are my career outcomes?

What are my career outcomes?

There are endless opportunities and career pathways once you complete your apprenticeship. As well as owning your own business, a Butcher may choose to pursue the following career paths:

- Industrial Butcher
- Meat Production
- Plant Manager