numerous employment and career opportunities for UK butchers. The UK
currently has around 40,000 butchers working throughout the country.
However, there’s still a national shortage of people with the right
skills. If you’re a young person just starting out, then you may
want to consider this occupation as an option.
Starting salary and
If you choose to
become a butcher, your starting salary may be around £7,176 a year,
depending on various factors. Some apprenticeships and on-the-job
training positions are available. As a matter of fact, this is how
most people enter into employment as a butcher.
You could work in a High Street butcher's shop, with a meat
wholesaler, or on the meat counter in a supermarket. Once you’ve
become a qualified butcher, you may also work with the Meat Hygiene
Service to check standards in abattoirs and meat plants.
prepare and sell a variety of meats, including poultry products. The
preparation may include making traditional cuts of meat and
marinating products for summertime barbeques. You may also have to
prepare specialist varieties such as gluten-free products and kosher
If you choose to work in retail, as most butchers do, then you’ll be
performing customer service tasks as well as product preparation.
These customer service tasks can include advising customers about
various cuts of meat and how to cook them. You may also have to
provide a delivery service to customers.
If you work with meat wholesalers, you’ll be dealing with the
carcasses that arrive from abattoirs. You’ll be preparing and
storing the meat before it’s sent off to retailers and other
wholesale customers. Whether working for retail or wholesale, you
will have to be careful if you tend to have allergies or skin
Some other tasks commonly performed by butchers are:
• Skilfully cutting, de-boning, slicing, and trimming meat and
• Ordering stock and taking deliveries from suppliers, or purchasing
products from the markets
• Creating recipes, and putting them in print for customers
• Organising displays for windows and refrigerators
work 39-40 hours a week, starting early in the morning. Deliveries
commonly start arriving around 7 a.m. and require using hoists and
trolleys to move the stock around. As a butcher, you’ll probably be
working with a team of other butchers on a rota system. You’ll
probably have to work Saturdays, and in some cases, you may have to
work on Sundays and evenings too.
The work involves working in chilled storage areas, so you must be
able to tolerate cool temperatures. You’ll have to wear protective
clothing, such as an apron and disposable gloves. You’ll be working
with sharp tools, and sometimes working around slippery floors, so
you must be safety-oriented. It also involves long periods of
standing, lifting and carrying heavy joints of meat, so you’ll have
to have lots of stamina and strength.
There are numerous
long term prospects for butchers. Many supermarkets and retail
chains offer excellent opportunities for career growth. A good
butcher may be promoted to team leader, supervisor and manager
levels. As an experienced butcher, you may also be able to set up
your own retail outlet. Veteran retail butchers can move into meat
catering, meat manufacturing or meat wholesale.
Although there’s no formal certification or education needed, many
employers provide opportunities for
butchers to work towards relevant qualifications. These
qualifications include NVQ's/SVQ's in Meat and Poultry Processing at
Levels 1 and 2. They also include Food safety qualifications that
take into account European Union hygiene regulations.
Some professional associations and councils also provide training
and certification for butchers. For instance, the Meat Training
Council offers Intermediate Certificates in Meat and Poultry, Meat
and Poultry Management, and in Hazard Analysis Critical Control
Points. They also offer a Management Development Programme in Meat
and Poultry for team leader, supervisor, and manager levels. The
Scottish Federation of Meat Traders’ offers a Craftsman Certificate
and Diploma. There are numerous employment and career opportunities
for UK butchers at all the various levels of expertise they may
Essential skills for a
An imaginary tale
Insurance for butchers
butchersinsurance.org.uk 2011 All Rights Reserved