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2 Years
Job Zone

In Summary

This is a two year programme delivered primarily “on-the-job” by experienced Craft Butchers.

Through this programme craft butcher apprentices will gain an understanding about a range of meat & meat products and the various techniques needed to process/prepare high quality products in a craft butchery. Apprentices will be trained to cut, prepare, package and present meat products to the needs, standards and quality driven by evolving tastes and trends of customers and the butchery sector.

Craft Butchery 3 mins from EurAV on Vimeo.

As the butcher role has evolved, greater responsibility will be placed on apprentices to learn general business and customer service skills. Therefore, increased attention will be paid to marketing principles and practices.

Although training is primarily “on-the-job”, the programme is supported by “off-the-job” learning in a training environment.

On successful completion of the Butcher apprenticeship, the apprentice is awarded a Level 5 Certificate in Craft Butchery at QQI Level 5 Major Award.

For further information and application requirements for this programme contact apprenticeship@msletb.ie or visit www.apprenticeship.ie


To view the brochure click the photo above or click here

View details from Apprenticeship.ie

View Occupational Profile 

To view full details of this occupation, view information from our Careers database for the following occupation: Butcher

Entry Requirements

Before applying to this apprenticeship, please check that you meet all entry requirements. 

  • Be employed by an ‘Approved Employer’
  • Have a level 3 major award or equivalent (must include a pass in Maths and English)
  • Have a minimum of 12 months experience in a butchers or a trade related environment
  • Complete an Interview
    - Apprentice applicants must provide evidence demonstrating English language competence of B1
    - Non-EU applicants will be subject to work permit regulations


In advance of completing an application for the Butcher Apprenticeship it is important to understand the commitment you will need to provide to this programme.

Although training is primarily “on-the-job”, the programme is supported by “off-the-job” learning in a training environment.


The training is provided by the following institutions:

This list is up to date as of June 2019.

Apprenticeship training takes place in various locations around the country. The list above is by no means exhaustive and training providers are subject to change. Please check with your local Education and Training Board (ETB) to get more information about specific training locations for this apprenticeship. To check your local ETB use this link and select your county.

Skills & Qualities

  • Ability to take appropriate personal operational responsibility for both health and food safety and the application of safe working practices when using knives, hazardous tools and/or related equipment.
  • Displays a willingness to learn, solve problems and acquire new skills that will be applied in the working environment.
  • Is punctual, reliable, diligent and respectful towards customers, peers and colleagues at all times.
  • Shows 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.
  • Maintains the vision and ethos of the business, including performance levels whilst taking pride in work and fostering positive relationships with customers and colleagues.
  • 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.

Work Activities

Butchers are skilled in preparing and placing meat cuts and products in display counters, so they appear attractive and catch the shopper’s eye.

The apprentice butcher will learn and demonstrate the skills of ‘shaping’, ‘lacing’, and ‘tying’ roasts using boning knives, skewers, and twine.

In addition to developing culinary skills, craft butchers will be able to wrap, weigh, label and price cuts of meat.

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme the Butcher will have:


  • Understand 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
  • Understand 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 carcass by-products, primal, joints and muscles
  • Various craft and knife skills used for cutting, boning, trimming and mincing of meat including the use of relevant mechanical equipment as required
  • The importance of cold storage, stock control 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 wholesale or retail sale
  • Employment, rights and responsibilities, including equality, team working practices and the importance of continuous personal development
  • The need for traceability in the procurement and supply of meat
  • The butcher’s role in the audit and inspection process
  • The contents of a marketing plan
  • The principles of customer service


  • Full awareness and adherence to health and safety regulations and/or additional requirements that may apply to their employer’s food business
  • Demonstrate the principles of butchery; including the selection, procurement, provenance and handling of livestock leading to welfare and associated lairage and slaughter practices
  • Use machinery (as permitted) and other relevant cutting equipment including the ability to sharpen knives
  • Carry out a range of primary and secondary butchery skills involving the use of steak and boning knives, hand saws, 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 employers 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
  • Produce meat to the specific volume, size & weight to meet the needs of national/local consumers and customers in a timely and accurate fashion
  • Apply hand/eye co-ordination along with physical agility and manual handling of carcases through the manufacturing and butchery process
  • Complete a marketing plan for a craft butcher shop

Career Progression

On completion of The Craft Butcher Apprenticeship Programme, apprentices will have gained the knowledge and skills to cut, prepare, package and present meat and meat products to the standards required of the business and specialist needs of consumers.

Holders of this award will be eligible to progress to QQI Level 6 courses

Getting an Apprenticeship

In order to secure an apprenticeship, you must first secure a contract with an employer. You must apply directly to an employer rather than the training provider. Once you have found an employer to take you on as an apprentice, your employer must then register you as an apprentice with SOLAS.

  • The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
  • The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.

For further information and application requirements for this programme contact apprenticeship@msletb.ie or visit www.apprenticeship.ie

Visit Associated Craft Butchers Ireland for details of current apprenticeship vacancies.

Apprentices must be hired by an approved employer. Employers must ensure that the apprentice is a suitable candidate for training. Employers must also provide a mentor and make the apprentice available for any off-the-job periods of training required.  

The Workplace Mentor can be the employer or an experienced member of the employer’s management or senior supervisory staff who has a minimum of 3 years’ relevant experience. Mentors must complete the prescribed MSLETB Workplace Mentoring Programme.

Further information is also available from:
Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim Education & Training Board

Phone: 071 9159500
Website: www.sligotrainingcentre.ie


Finding Vacancies

Finding an employer or registering your interest with an official Coordinating Provider is one of the first things you need to do to start an apprenticeship.

Opportunities for this apprenticeship may be available from the following organisations:

Online Jobsites

Here are some direct links to employment websites that frequently list apprenticeship vacancies.
Note: These websites may include vacancies that are not QQI accredited Apprenticeships.

Current Apprentice Butcher Jobs (Where Available)

Apprenticeship Courses

Search for Apprenticeship Butcher courses.

Pay & Fees

For this Butchery apprenticeship, the employer pays the apprentice for the duration of the apprenticeship. The rate of pay is agreed between the employer and the apprentice. A registration fee is not payable for this apprenticeship. For further information see  'Student Contribution' . 

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