What Is An Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a job with training where someone can earn while they learn and achieve recognised qualifications and essential skills.

Butchery is one of the oldest crafts in the world, and is often where innovation meets tradition to create an industry full of character and camaraderie that plays a critical role in our social and economic future. A successful butcher must demonstrate dexterous knife skills together with craft to be able to produce the most cuts to make every carcase profitable.

Butchers work in the meat and poultry industry, which is worth several billion pounds in the UK and employs thousands of workers in the farm to fork supply chain. Qualified butchers can look forward to rewarding careers in a range of environments with different types of employers. Employers include both processors, and retailers. Processors range from multi-national processing businesses supplying meat or meat products to, for example: large food outlets, supermarkets and hotel chains; to smaller processors supplying for example, independent/local food businesses. Retailers could include supermarkets, independent retailers and farm shops.


On completion of the apprenticeship, newly qualified butchers will possess the following core knowledge:

  • The development of the meat sector leading up to the modern day, including its values, culture, traditions and connection to membership bodies and professional institutions
  • The principles of butchery; including the selection, procurement, provenance and handling of livestock leading to welfare and associated lairage and slaughter practices, including Halal and Kosher
  • The principles of waste minimisation, saleable yield and predictive costing methods
  • The meat and poultry marketplace including the supply chain/traceability functions and key legislative and enforcement agencies that regulate the retail and/or process environments


Typically 18 to 24 months


On completion of the apprenticeship, newly qualified butchers will have proven core skills enabling them to:

  • Full awareness and adherence to health and safety regulations and/or additional requirements that may apply to their employer’s food business
  • A range of primary and secondary butchery skills involving the use of steak and boning knives, hand saws, cleavers, banding needles and other relevant hand tools used in the process of primal cutting, boning, slicing, dicing, rolling, trimming and filleting as used in their employers business
  • Meat and/or poultry products (as required) such as sausages/pies made to the specifications of customers or for sale to the public

Butchers generally work in retail or meat processing businesses. Depending on the route they take, butchers will need to supplement their core standard programme by demonstrating a minimum range of specialist knowledge, behaviours and skills.


During the programme apprentices will display core behaviours enabling them to:

  • Take appropriate personal operational responsibility for both health and food safety, apply safe working practices when using knives, hazardous tools and/or related equipment
  • Display a willingness to learn, solve problems and acquire new skills that will be applied in the working environment
  • Show attention to detail, carrying out duties in a diligent way and taking account of efficiencies and understanding how these support the profitability of the business

Retail Butchers

  •  Communicate enthusiastically and with personality to customers offering excellent service
  • Advise domestic and commercial customers on the preparation & cooking of red & white meat products
  • Produce a range of meat & poultry products including joints, portions, cooked and hot products, sausages, burgers, pasties, curing, smoking, air drying & value added products

Process Butchers

  •  Produce meat to the specific volume, size & weight to meet the needs of national/local consumers and customers in a timely and accurate fashion
  • Know and understand the need for traceability in the procurement and supply of meat
  • Know and understand their role in the audit and inspection process

How do I apply to be a Butchery Apprentice?

If you are interested in becoming a ButcheryApprentice you will need to register your interest with Remit by completing the online application form here.