Meat Process Worker

Job Description:

Meat process workers produce meat products for the food manufacturing, catering and food retail industries.

Job Category:
Food & Drink

What you will do:

Your day-to-day duties will depend on where you work.

You could:

  • humanely slaughter and prepare livestock in an abattoir
  • cut, de-bone and prepare carcasses in a meat processing factory
  • prepare meat for retail or catering in meat or poultry processing plants
  • prepare meat for specialist catering orders in butcheries
  • make deliveries


You have:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • 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 your hands
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • concentration skills

Restrictions and Requirements

To work as a slaughterman or slaughterwoman you must be licensed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and aged 18 or over.

For production line work, you need to be at least 16.

You might need a driving licence if your job includes delivery duties.

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Meat Process Worker, specific subjects are not typically required. However, certain subjects can provide a foundation for developing skills and knowledge that may be relevant to this career, such as:

  1. Mathematics: Basic math skills for measurements, portioning, and calculations related to meat processing.
  2. Science (Biology): Understanding of biological concepts can be helpful for understanding meat quality and safety.
  3. Design and Technology (Food Technology): Provides insights into food handling, hygiene, and safety practices.
  4. Health and Social Care: Knowledge of health and safety regulations and practices in a food processing environment.
  5. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using technology for record-keeping and data entry.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

Relevant courses include:

  • Certificate for Proficiency in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills
  • Certificate or Diploma for Proficiency in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills

You can do an abattoir worker intermediate apprenticeship, or a food and drink process operator intermediate or advanced apprenticeship.

Direct Application
You do not need any particular qualifications to apply directly for this job. Some employers may prefer you to have some good high school marks.

You may have an advantage if you’ve got experience of using a forklift truck, though this is not essential.

Working Hours and Environment:

You would typically work 42 to 44 hours per week.

You could work at an abattoir or in a factory.

Your working environment may be cold and physically demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

You could become a shift supervisor or manager on the production line, or in an area like quality control, product development or food marketing.

With further experience you could train to become a meat hygiene inspector.