Meat process worker

abattoir worker slaughterman slaughterwoman slaughterhouse worker
Produce

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would produce meat for people to buy in shops and supermarkets and cook at home. You’d also produce meat for food made by caterers and served in cafes and restaurants.

There are several places you could work.

In an abattoir, you’d handle animals and birds. You’d ensure that they are slaughtered humanely and with as little distress as possible.

A wholesale meat factory is where meat is prepared. Working here, you’d cut, de-bone and prepare the carcasses before they are sold to retailers.

You could work as a butcher to prepare meat specifically for caterers.

Or you could produce and package meat products for shops and caterers in a meat or poultry processing plant.

Depending on where you work, you might use knives and other cutting equipment, such as a band saw, to cut up and prepare carcasses. You might also do deliveries.

Personal hygiene is extremely important in this job. You'd also need to understand the importance of food hygiene and follow health and safety regulations.

Working conditions

Hours

You would usually work 40 hours a week, sometimes on a shift system. Part-time work is often available and overtime is quite common.

Environment

You would normally work in a processing plant or abattoir. You may also carry out some work in chill rooms and refrigerated areas. The job could involve lifting and handling carcasses, which would be physically demanding and unpleasant at times. Your employer would provide you with protective clothing, such as overalls, hats, hairnets and rubber boots.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show an awareness of food health and safety standards such as Skills for Work Food and Drink (SCQF level 5).  

It is helpful to have relevant industry qualifications, such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Food and Drink Operations (SVQ level 2/3), or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.   

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