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Meat process worker

Alternative titles for this job include Meat factory worker, abattoir worker, slaughterhouse worker

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

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter


£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Meat process worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate for Proficiency in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills
  • Level 3 Certificate or Diploma for Proficiency in Meat and Poultry Industry Skills

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information


You can do an abattoir worker intermediate apprenticeship, or a food and drink process operator intermediate or advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Direct Application

You do not need any particular qualifications to apply directly for this job. Some employers may prefer you to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 2 (A* to E).

You may have an advantage if you've got experience of using a forklift truck, though this is not essential.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in food production from the Food and Drink Training and Education Council.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

To work as a slaughterman or slaughterwoman you must be licensed by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and aged 18 or over.

For production line work, you need to be at least 16.

You might need a driving licence if your job includes delivery duties.

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties will depend on where you work. You could:

  • humanely slaughter and prepare livestock in an abattoir
  • cut, de-bone and prepare carcasses in a meat processing factory
  • prepare meat for retail or catering in meat or poultry processing plants
  • prepare meat for specialist catering orders in butcheries
  • make deliveries

Working environment

You could work at an abattoir or in a factory.

Your working environment may be cold and physically demanding.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could become a shift supervisor or manager on the production line, or in an area like quality control, product development or food marketing.

With further experience you could train to become a meat hygiene inspector.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Food and Drink Processing Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £11,648 to £20,820.80 a year Annually
  • Location: 28 Holland Road, Hove

Food & Drink Process Operator Level 2 Apprenticeship

  • Wage: £9,152 a year Annually
  • Location: Precision 4 Business Park, Styles Close,, Sittingbourne, Kent

Courses In England

RSPH Level 2 Award in Food Safety and Hygiene

  • Start date: 17 December 2024
  • Location: Portsmouth


  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Scarborough

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