Butchery is one of the world’s oldest and most respected trades. You need supreme skill and technique to deliver high quality products

Careers information

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What do they do?

Butchers are responsible for deboning carcasses, curing and smoking, and preparing cuts of meat and poultry for sale in a safe and hygienic way. Butchery requires strength and precision, but also customer service and presentation skills. Butchers work in supermarkets, local butcher's shops, large production plants or freezing works.

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A typical day

Typically, an eight/ten-hour day; sometimes longer and weekend work is common.

Butchers cut up and prepare meat for sale, which involves packaging and presenting different cuts of meat in an appealing way.

It also involves cleaning and maintaining equipment and sharpening knives. In smaller shops and some supermarkets, you may be involved in curing and smoking meat or creating specific meat products.

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How to become a butcher?

You learn to be a butcher through a New Zealand apprenticeship where you complete your training while working on-the-job.

Sound like you?

Study areasAttributesHelpful experiencePreferred work environments
  • English or Media Studies or History
  • Maths or Accounting or Economics
  • Food or Nutrition
  • Agriculture or Horticulture
  • Confident communicator
  • Reasonable strength & firness
  • Good work habits/time management
  • Good literacy &numeracy
  • Customer service or helping people
  • Making or fixing things
  • Selling or persuading people
  • Working with machinery
  • Inside (retail/shop/etc...)
  • One place every day

Career pathway

SchoolEntry level jobsAdvancing jobsSenior jobs
  • NCEA Level 2 could be useful
  • Meat Processing Worker
  • Supermarket Butcher
  • Butcher
  • Butchery Manager
  • Meat Inspector
  • Production manager
  • Supermarket Management
  • Teacher/Tutor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
Unit/Achievement standards in schoolsApprenticeshipHigher learningHigher learning
Gateway programme available