Starting in a career as a process butcher can be very demanding and an eye-opener to an exciting and rewarding vocation. Process butchery can greatly differ from retail butchery, but the principles of butchery remain the same regarding food safety standards and Health and Safety requirements and responsibilities. Training is substantial which can coincide with a butchery apprenticeship to gain a nationally recognisable qualification.
Once considered to have the necessary butchery skills it is time to move into the processing environment which can be fast-paced to meet the needs of the business to meet customer demand. Having the ability to work as part of a team is essential in process butchery which leads to great comradery and togetherness to achieve the objectives. If working in a meat abattoir or slaughterhouse which processes carcases at a high volume butchery must be partnered with understanding specifications to produce products to meet food business operator’s requirements. Speed boning can be very demanding that requires a very high level of skill and work ethics but gives the sense of great achievement when production targets are met. When producing large volumes of meat yield and waste management is vital in controlling costs and hitting profit margins in a processing butchery business.
Whilst working at a large catering butcher we were required to produce hundreds of joints and thousands of steaks to meet customer demand to different specifications where consistency of the product is essential to maintaining quality to retain business and keep customers happy. Automation is being introduced into process butchery with innovation and technology advancements in efficiency and cost savings, but hand cutting is still a butchery craft skill greatly respected in the meat industry and was no mean feat when I used to produce 5000 steaks a day all to a tight specification.
As well as high volume process and catering butchery there is also a need for top quality products for the niche market of high-class restaurants and hotels which require more of a retail butchery type of product. Whilst I worked in this area creating cuts for these clients through artisan craft and seam butchery was very rewarding and I had a great sense of pride in what I was able to produce using all my skills and experience and I still have a passion for putting my skills to the test.
The butchery trade and meat industry gives a fantastic opportunity to learn a trade has a skilled butcher with a career for life due to butchers always going to be needed in the food industry, and be able to do an apprenticeship, gain a qualification, be ambitious to progress through promotions and pathways to bigger and better things have I did and have a successful rewarding career.
Written by our Butchery Trainer & Assessor, Colin Taylor
We offer apprenticeships in both, Level 2 Retail Butcher and Level 2 Process Butcher, click HERE to find out more!