On a butcher apprenticeship course, you’ll learn to produce the most cuts to make every carcass profitable.

A competent butcher must be skilled with a knife to get the most slices from each body to make each carcass profitable.

Working for a processing business or one of their customers, such as a supermarket, will educate you that butchery is a highly skilled and time-honoured profession.

You’ll learn about several meat species and the many techniques used to cook these products. In addition, you will learn how to cut, prepare, package, and display meat products to commercial business and consumer standards.

You will learn a wide range of skills and knowledge that will prepare you for a rewarding career in the butchery business in the UK and worldwide. If you are an entrepreneur, you may establish your own business after obtaining the required credentials.

What you’ll learn

On a butcher apprenticeship course, you’ll learn to:

  • Show full understanding of and adherence to all health and safety regulations and any additional standards that may apply to their employer’s food business.
  • Perform a range of primary and secondary butchery skills using steak and boning knives, hand saws, cleavers, banding needles, and other necessary hand tools in primal cutting, boning, slicing, dicing, rolling, trimming, and filleting as employed in their employer’s company.
  • Produce meat and/or poultry products (as required), such as sausages/pies for clients or public sales.
  • Use machines and other cutting equipment as needed (as permitted), including the ability to sharpen blades.
  • Adhere to all applicable legal requirements in the food industry and the employer’s organisational rules and standard operating procedures.
  • Maintain a high-quality environment across the meat supply chain, including product sampling, specifications (including customer requirements), food safety compliance, and traceability procedures.
  • Contribute to workforce development by sharing your knowledge and experience with new hires and/or inexperienced colleagues.
  • Communicate effectively with customers, suppliers, and colleagues, showing the exceptional interpersonal skills required to do the task at the right level.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship.
  • Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this before taking the end-point assessment.

Assessment methods

The End Point Assessment comprises three distinct assessment methods: 

  • Multiple-choice test (MCT) 
  • Practical skills assessment (PSA) 
  • Vocational competence discussion (VCD), underpinned by the apprentice’s log book

Restrictions and requirements

Some professions in retail or catering require a Level 2 Award in Food Safety. This one-day course is taught at educational institutions and private training providers.

Duration and level

  • Duration: 18 months
  • Level: 2 – Intermediate Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship standard

More information about the Level 2 Butcher Apprenticeship standard can be found here.

Apprenticeship end point assessment

For more information about the End Point Assessment Process, please read the Institute of Apprenticeships’ information page.

Updated on October 2, 2022

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