Job Description:

Butchers prepare and sell meat and poultry, and make meat products like sausages, burgers and pies.

Job Category:
Food & Drink

What you will do:

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • buying, ordering, storing and controlling stock
  • receiving deliveries and checking their content and hygiene
  • moving meat stock to cold storage areas
  • creating product displays
  • cutting, boning and trimming meat
  • serving customers
  • 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.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of food production methods
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership skills)
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work well with your hands
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

There are no set requirements, but knowledge of the trade and previous experience in retail will help you to get a job.

Some employers prefer you to have taken a 1-day food safety for retail (or catering or manufacturing) award course.

You’ll usually start as a trainee or assistant and learn on the job.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

School Subjects

To become a Butcher in the UK, specific GCSE subjects are not mandatory, but certain subjects can be beneficial in developing the skills and knowledge required for this role, such as:

  1. Food Technology: This subject can provide insights into food preparation, safety, and handling, which is essential in the butchery profession.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for weighing and measuring meat cuts and calculating quantities.
  3. Science: Studying science can provide a general understanding of food safety, hygiene, and the biology of animals.
  4. Business Studies: Knowledge of business principles can be helpful if you plan to run your own butcher shop or manage a business.
  5. Design and Technology (or Resistant Materials): This subject can provide hands-on skills and an understanding of tools and equipment used in the butchery trade.
  6. Physical Education: Physical fitness and manual dexterity are important for handling meat and operating butcher’s tools.

Working Hours 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 moving heavy joints in and out of cold storage, preparing cuts of meat and serving customers.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could work in larger and more prestigious independent butchers’ shops, retail chains and supermarkets, or set up your own shop.

With supermarkets and chains, you may progress to supervisory or management roles.

You could work at the Meat Hygiene Service, checking quality and standards in abattoirs and meat plants.

You could move into catering, meat manufacturing and wholesaling.