An apprentice butcher is someone who helps prepares meat for sale or the production of meat-based products (e.g. cured meats and sausages). Butchers often deal with red and white meat from farm-raised animals as well as wild wildlife.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- buy, order, store and control stock
- receive deliveries and check their content and hygiene
- move meat stock to cold storage areas
- create product displays
- cut, bone and trim meat
- serve customers
- advise customers on how to prepare and cook meat
- drive to markets, wholesalers, and customers’ premises.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £16,000 per year.
- Experienced butchers can earn up to £26,000 per year.
You will typically work 43 to 45 hours per week, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays on shifts.
You could work in a factory or at a store.
Your working environment may be cool and physically demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice butcher include:
- Level 2 Butcher – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification will take 18 months to complete.
On a butcher apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- the ability to work well with others
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of food production methods
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- customer service skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
With experience, you can work in larger, higher-quality independent butcher shops, retail chains, and supermarkets, or you can create your own business.
You might move to supervisory or management roles in a supermarket or retail chain.
You might also work for the Food Standards Agency, inspecting abattoirs and meat processing plants for quality and standards.
You may work in the culinary, meat processing, or wholesaling industries.