You’ll be surprised to know about the size of the Australian meat industry. The red meat and livestock sector itself had a remarkable impact on the GDP. According to the IBIS World, the total contribution was an amazing $17.6 billion in 2018-19! So there are good career opportunities in this industry.
Like many other skill-based jobs, there is a shortage of butchers and meat processors in the country. Becoming a skilled meat processor takes time. You have to master the craft slowly. However, you can definitely have better career prospects by following a few tips. Let’s look at 8 tips for working as a butcher or meat processor in Australia.
Our 8 Tips for Butchers or Meat Processors in Australia
Hard work, patience, and continuous learning will help you develop a great career in any occupation. As you go through our suggestions, you’ll understand why. Let us now go through each tip.
1. Improve Your Hand-Eye Coordination
As a butcher, you have to work regularly with sharp knives and cleavers. You need to have proper hand-eye coordination to properly use these tools. Otherwise, you can cause serious accidents involving your fingers or arms. Some of the ways to improve this coordination:
- Adequate rest: Rest relieves stress and keeps the mind sharp.
- Swimming: This low-impact activity is a great way to improve your blood circulation.
- Eye health: Do regular medical check-ups to take care of your eyes.
2. Maintain Good Physical Fitness
In this job, you have to lift carcases and heavy equipment. You will use tools to chop and cut pieces of meat. Most of your day will be spent standing for long hours. Clearly, you need to be physically fit to do these activities properly. Good fitness will also ensure that you can complete multiple tasks quickly. There are many ways to keep a fit body:
- Walking: Regular walks or any cardiovascular exercise will keep your heart healthy.
- Resistance training: You can hit the gym or do basic bodyweight exercises like push-ups to strengthen your muscles.
- Balanced diet: We highly suggest eating a healthy diet rich in all kinds of nutrients.
3. Safety First!
Sharp and pointy tools are a common scene in the life of a meat processor. You should be well aware of the safety regulations to prevent unwanted injuries. Your clothing and skin will come into frequent contact with blood and other animal organs as well. Therefore, you should ensure safety through:
- Proper hygiene: Make an effort to maintain a clean body both during and after work. Wash your hands regularly with soap or sanitiser. Use a good product to wash your clothes and maintain industry-standard hygiene practices.
- Use tools with caution: If you’re unsure about a particular machine or knife, consult an experienced co-worker or the manual for guidance.
- First-aid kit: Always have an emergency medical supply box on hand. Know how to use it in case of an emergency.
With enough experience and competence, you can go for more specialised positions in this industry. To get a specialised job, you need to thoroughly understand the relevant skills. Many businesses will have better remuneration for these positions. Some of the specialised meat industry roles in Australia are:
- Renderer: Renderers work in processing plants. They use various machines for meat meal and fertiliser production.
- Slaughterer: They participate in the slaughtering of animals along with the removal of their organs and hides.
- Boner and Slicer: In this role, the workers prepare the cuts. They do so by removing the bones and slicing the meat.
5. Be Adaptable
The work environment in this sector can be chaotic and stressful. On some days, you have to work with more carcases than usual. Therefore, the daily workload will also vary. You should adapt to these pressures and sudden industry changes. Our suggestion:
- Understand the meat industry: Learn more about the latest customer trends, practices, businesses, and career options.
- Take breaks: Don’t hesitate to take a few days off to re-energise yourself.
6. Learn about Different Tools
A butcher who knows how to operate different tools will be in higher demand. Tools can be as simple as a knife. Or it can be more complex, like an electric meat cutting machine. When you’re learning to use a tool or machine, make sure that you understand every step of using it safely and properly. Take your time if necessary. Some common meat processing tools are:
- Boning knife
- Meat grinder
- Knife sharpening devices
- Meat cleaver
7. Basic Finance Skills
Having some financial knowledge can be very useful in the long run. It will help you a lot when you have your own shop or when you’re making transactions. Some important finance skills that you should learn are:
- Preparing budgets
- Understanding basic financial statements
8. Consider Getting a Certification
There are several certifications for butchers and meat processors in Australia. If you are qualified, you’ll find more lucrative opportunities. Various institutions in Australia, such as a Recognised Training Organisation (RTO), offer nationally recognised qualifications. Courses like Certificate III on Butcher Meat Processing (Retail Butcher) cover topics like:
- Using and maintaining tools
- Workplace communication
- Different types of meat cuts
- Techniques for meat processing
Meat processor jobs are challenging. But it can be exciting as well! You can become very successful if you stay dedicated. Try to do new things every once in a while. This habit will keep your skills relevant.
By following our tips for butchers and meat processors in Australia, you can build a fantastic career in this field. Don’t be afraid to adopt new ideas. We wish you all the best!