What Core Skills Does The Butchery Trade Need In The Future?

So, what should newly qualified butchers know and understand?

More than you’d think probably, but here’s a few things:

  • 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.
  • The principles of meat and poultry species including knowledge associated with carcase by-products, primal, joints and muscles.
  • The various craft and knife skills used for cutting, boning, trimming and mincing of meat including the use of relevant mechanical equipment as required.
  • Cold storage and safe movement of meat and/or poultry in the butchery environment.
  • Stock control, product pricing, quality assurance and meeting the expectations of customers and/or contractors.
  • Health and food safety including hygiene both in personal terms and as part of the wider food sales/production environment.
  • Methods for weighing products, controlling temperature, wrapping, sealing, packing, labelling and stock control of meat and poultry products for wholesaler retail sale.
  • Employment, rights and responsibilities, including equality, team working practices and the importance of continuous personal development.

Halls of Hazlemere refurb

What should their newly found skills enable them to do?

Prove: Full awareness and adherence to health and safety regulations and/or additional requirements that may apply to their employer’s food business.

Carry out: A range of primary and secondary butchery skills involving the use of steak and boning knives, hand saw, 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 employer’s business.

Produce: Meat and/or poultry products (as required) such as sausages/pies made to the specifications of customers or for sale to the public.

Use: Machinery (as permitted) and other relevant cutting equipment including the ability to sharpen knives.

Apply: Hand/eye co-ordination along with physical agility and manual handling of carcases through the manufacturing/butchery process.

Adhere: To the legislative regulations that apply in the food industry plus the organisational policies and standard operating procedures that apply within the employer’s business.

Display: The ability to work in a team and individually as required in a busy environment with pre-determined deadlines and productivity targets.

Maintain: The quality environment; including product sampling, specification (including customer requirements), food safety compliance and traceability procedures in the meat supply chain.

Support: Workforce development; sharing own knowledge and experience to in order to assist new recruits and/or inexperienced colleagues.

Communicate: Effectively with customers, suppliers and colleagues displaying the excellent interpersonal skills required to perform the role to the required standard.

Keelham Farm Shop butchers

As they learn apprentices should be able to display what they have learnt 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.

Be: Punctual, reliable, diligent and respectful towards customers, peers and colleagues at all times.

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.

Maintain: The vision and ethos of the business, including performance levels whilst taking pride in work and fostering positive relationships with customers and colleagues.

Being just a mere wordsmith I’d say there’s more to this butchery business than meets the eye. Those training for a butchery apprenticeship also need to be able to:

  • Communicate enthusiastically and with personality to customers offering excellent service.
  • Advise domestic and commercial customers on the preparation and cooking of red and 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.
  •  Plan & prepare for seasonal supply & demand (availability) of meat products ensuring best practice in the merchandising and promotion of seasonal foods.
  •  Understand the counter sales environment, including cash administration, stock replenishment systems.

So, how’s all that going to happen?

Well, with the help of trailblazing employers & organisations like The Institute of Meat and the British Poultry Council.

To learn more about apprenticeships, click here whether you’re an employer in search of new recruits or thinking of entering the industry.

Can you afford not to secure the future of your business?