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Meat process worker

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,500 to £21,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but employers may prefer you to have some GCSEs.

Forklift truck experience may be helpful.

You may also need a driving licence for delivery duties.

You must be licensed and aged 18 or over to work as a slaughterman or woman
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has more information on licensing.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • teamworking skills
  • practical skills
  • the ability to concentrate during repeated tasks

3. What you'll do

You may work in:

  • abattoirs – as a slaughterman or woman, humanely killing and preparing livestock
  • wholesale meat factories – cutting, de-boning and preparing carcasses before they are sold to retailers
  • butcheries – specialising in preparing meat in line with instructions from caterers
  • meat or poultry processing plants – producing and packing products for the retail and catering industries

Depending on where you work, you may use knives and other cutting equipment, like a band saw, to cut and prepare carcasses. You may also have some delivery duties.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,500 to £15,000

Experienced: £16,000 to £21,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 40 hours a week, sometimes on a shift system. 

You’ll usually work in a processing plant or abattoir. You may also work in chill rooms and refrigerated areas.

You’ll be lifting and handling carcasses, which could be physically demanding and unpleasant at times. Your employer will give you protective clothing, like overalls, hats, hairnets and rubber boots.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager in an area like quality control, product development or food marketing. 

With further experience and qualifications you could work towards becoming a meat hygiene inspector.

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Last updated: 16 December 2016