How to become a Butcher

Butchers select, cut, trim and prepare meat for sale or supply.

Personal requirements of a Butcher

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • In good health
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good hand–eye coordination
  • Good interpersonal skills

Education & Training for a Butcher

To become a butcher you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher). Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Butcher

Butchers may perform the following tasks:

  • cut, trim and shape standard cuts of meat to size
  • process carcasses into primary and secondary cuts
  • pack and store products for display and sale
  • order supplies from wholesalers using AUS-MEAT Language, and weigh and check stock on receipt
  • assemble and operate mincers, grinders, mixers, patty-forming or sausage-forming machines, and bandsaws
  • use correct detergents and sanitisers to prevent food poisoning and contamination of premises and equipment
  • assist clients (including hotels and restaurants) with menu planning, estimating food portions and production costs
  • collect payment for sales
  • prepare marinated meats and ready-to-cook dishes
  • advise customers about alternative cuts, cooking methods, storage requirements and nutritional aspects of meat.

Working conditions for a Butcher

Butchers work with a variety of knives, hand tools, power equipment (including mincers, mixers and bandsaws) and computer-operated machinery. They work in shops and boning/slicing rooms. They usually have early morning starts and their work involves a lot of contact with people, such as customers and workmates. Butchers are exposed to animal blood.

Employment Opportunities for a Butcher

Most butchers are employed in retail businesses or supermarkets. Some are self-employed. Butchers also work in wholesale and export businesses where they prepare meat for local consumption or export. Qualified butchers may have the opportunity to become involved in other areas of the hospitality and food industries, such as meat and meat products inspection, export and associated services.

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