“It is quite a physical job and it requires speed and good listening skills as well,” Robin said.

“Being a butcher is also a good way to develop customer skills and understand nutrition – all the good stuff you can get from lamb and beef like amino acids. It’s not just about cutting meat.”

In fact, butchery is an ancient and proud profession, but it can also be a stepping stone onto other careers.

 “It’s good preparation if someone is interested in being a chef. We tell customers how to cut meat, how long to cook a steak, or how many people it will feed – that sort of thing. It really helped my cooking skills.”

Robin’s progression into the butchery trade started with weekend work while he was in school.

“I started on Saturdays as a checkout boy and then moved out the back to counting sausages. From there, I picked up the basic knife skills like dicing chicken, and then I got offered an apprenticeship.

“It wasn’t what I planned to do when I was in school, but I got the hang of things, and I’ve liked it ever since.”

Average pay

  • Qualified butchers usually earn $17−$22 per hour.
  • Managers may earn up to $25 per hour.

(Source: Careers New Zealand).

 

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