Carving out a career in food working as a butcher

IF you have good practical skills and enjoy working with customers and meeting people, you could carve out a career working as a butcher.

Most people begin work as a trainee or assistant butcher and learn on the job.

You could have an advantage if you have experience in food retail. Some employers will prefer you to have a Food Safety for Retail Certificate, which can be taken as a one-day course.

As a butcher, your work would include:

l buying, ordering and controlling stock

l receiving deliveries and checking their content and hygiene

l moving meat stock to cold storage areas

l preparing product displays

lcutting, boning and trimming meat

l serving customers at the counter

l 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.

Butcher’s staff work about 40 hours a week, which may include early mornings.

This may include working at weekends in supermarkets, with time off during the week.

You will spend much of the day on your feet and you may need to lift and carry heavy joints of meat. You will wear protective clothing when handling meat, to comply with hygiene standards.

You may work in chill rooms and cold stores for short periods.

Butchers can earn between around £12,200 and £15,000 a year. With experience this can rise to between £16,500 and £22,000 or more a year. Managers can earn around £30,000.

You would usually start as a trainee or assistant butcher and learn on the job. You could have an advantage if you have experience in food retail.

Some employers will prefer you to have a Food Safety for Retail (or Catering or Manufacturing) Certificate, which can be taken as a one-day course. See the CIEH, and RSPH websites below for course details.

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship scheme.

The range of apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need.