You'll usually start as a trainee or assistant butcher and learn on the job.
Knowledge of the trade and previous experience in retail will help you to get a trainee job.
You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.
Some employers prefer you to have taken a 1-day food safety for retail, catering or manufacturing course, provided by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health or the Royal Society for Public Health.
- In-depth knowledge of meat products
- Maths skills for handling payments
- Communication and customer service skills
- Practical skills to work with knives and machinery
- The ability to work well in a team
- Creativity to present and display meat
You'll work in a butcher's shop, or a market or supermarket. Your day-to-day tasks could include:
- serving customers
- creating product displays
- receiving deliveries and checking their content and hygiene
- buying, ordering, storing and controlling stock
- moving meat stock to cold storage areas
- cutting, boning and trimming meat
- advising customers on how to prepare and cook meat
You may also drive to markets, wholesalers and customers’ premises.
You could specialise in halal, kosher or organic foods, depending on the demands of the local community.
Working Hours, Patterns and Environment
You'll work about 40 hours a week, which may include early mornings and weekends, with time off during the week.
You'll spend much of the day preparing cuts of meat in the shop and serving customers.
The work can be physically demanding. You’ll usually work in cool conditions to keep the meat fresh. You may need to wear protective clothing or a uniform.
With experience, you could work in larger and higher quality independent butchers’ shops, retail chains and supermarkets, or set up your own shop.
You may progress to supervisory or management roles in a supermarket or chain of shops.
You could also work at the Food Standards Agency, checking quality and standards in abattoirs and meat plants.
You could move into catering, meat manufacturing and wholesaling.