Meat Cutter Apprentice

Apprenticeship Tax Credits: Whats Great News and opportunity for BC Apprentice Meat Cutters

The BC Meat Cutter Apprenticeship a designated NON-RED SEAL Program under the (ITA) Industry training Authority; offers TAX CREDITS for apprentices

  • On completion of Level 1 and 1500 hours (WBT) = $1,000
  • On completion of Level 2 and 3000 hours (WBT) = $1,000
  • On achievement of certification (CofQ) including the 4,500 WBT hours) = $2,000
  • (WBT) Work based training.
  • (CofQ) Certificate of qualification

BC Meat Cutters: For further information go to this link:

What will I be doing as an Apprentice?

As a meat cutter apprentice you’ll be doing the same work duties as a retail meat cutter while you continue to take training in the trade in a registered apprenticeship program. Working behind and in front of the counter at local grocery stores, specialty meat shops and other retail establishments you will prepare and produce wholesome and attractive meat cuts that catch the consumer’s eye.

Duties vary from one job to another but, in general, meat cutter apprentices are working under the supervision of more experienced meat cutters.

  • Receive, store, prepare and rotate meat products
  • Maintain storage, preparation and sales areas in accordance with an approved sanitation program
  • Ensure meat quality
  • Package, price and attractively display meat items
  • Prepare and market ready-to-cook and partially/fully prepared meat items
  • Display meat products properly
  • Serve customers
  • Cut orders to meet special needs
How can I become a registered apprentice in BC if I am already working as a Meat Cutter?
  • B.C. has a fully operational apprenticeship training program.
  • To register for the B.C. apprenticeship program you must be a working meat cutter residing in BC.
  • Out of Province meat cutters may challenge the BC Certificate of Qualification: See out of Province application process
  • The B.C. program consists of two levels of training and the completion of 4500 industry hours.
  • Training is delivered at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C., and each course is 4 weeks in length.
  • Hours earned in other provinces may count towards a B.C. apprenticeship with the approval of your sponsor.
  • Working B.C. meat cutters with prior experience or training can request to challenge the Level 1 final exam in order to take Level 2 training and complete an apprenticeship, or may challenge the Certificate of Qualification exam to achieve a credential.
Apprenticeship for meat cutters in BC is voluntary: What does this mean?
  • This means you must ask your employer if they are willing to take you on as an apprentice and become your (sponsor)
  • The employer can accept or decline your request
  • If the employer accepts then an agreement between the employer and the meat cutter is drawn up and registered with the Industry Training Authority (ITA),
  • The meat cutter is issued an Individual ID number and becomes a registered apprentice
  • The employer must agree to the sponsor responsibilities, which include supervising and reporting all work based hours and allowing the meat cutter to attend level I and II technical training
  • Level I training is four weeks (starts 4th week January each year)and is usually undertaken after 12 – 18 months in Industry
  • Level II training is also four weeks ( starts last week of February each year)and is usually undertaken one year after Level I is completed
  • Level II Apprentices write their BC Certificate of Qualification exam on the last day of the Level II course
  • Apprentices with more experience (hours) can choose to complete the Level I & II courses back to back if approved by the employer and confirmed by the course Instructor
As a beginner Meat Cutter how many hours must I complete to qualify for Trade Certification?
  • The total hours required are 4500
  • All hours working as a meat cutter are calculated, but do not include hours attending technical training
  • It is important that you keep accurate records of hours worked
  • If you have completed all your school training, wrote your C of Q Exam and passed, but still don’t have enough hours the ITA will not issue your Qualification papers until those hours are completed. Therefore keep good records.
As an experienced Meat Cutter how many hours must I accumulate to qualify and challenge the Trade Qualification examination?
  • This option is for Meat Cutters already working in Industry that have had no prior formal apprenticeship training.
  • Must have documented proof of 6750 hours of previous Industry work experience
  • This exam is processed directly through the ITA
  • There is a fee to write the exam.
  • Study prior to the exam is recommended
  • The (CPMCA ) Canadian Professional Meat Cutters Association offers their new 2018 edition text
  • ‘Canadian Professional Meat Cutting’ used to support Post Secondary Entry Level trainees, Meat Cutter Apprentices and industry practitioners across Canada.
  • The text is available through our online store at or contact CPMCA Secretary / Treasurer: Ken Jakes at 236-425-1972 or e-mail : or
  • In the event that you fail the exam you can apply to write the paper again at a later date as determined by the ITA
  • Should you fail a second time you would be recommended to take up-grading as determined by the ITA.
  • This could mean taking Apprenticeship training at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops.
Out of Province meat cutters: How to Challenge the BC certificate of qualification?
  • Meat cutters from other Provinces wishing to gain a BC Meat Cutter certificate of qualification (CofQ) can complete their required hours of training in their home Province
  • However you are required to write the (CofQ) examination in BC and provide valid photo ID.
As a beginner Meat Cutter with (ELT) Entry level training how many hours must I complete to qualify for Trade Certification?
  • Thompson Rivers University (TRU) graduates of the 9 month entry level program can apply for a prior training Credit:
  • Credit for TRU training is 900 hours
  • To obtain your Apprenticeship papers and Journeyman status you must complete 4500 hours of documented work experience with a company or business willing to take you on as an Apprentice (the sponsor)
  • Therefore you must complete 3600 hours of additional documented work experience
  • The 3600 hours is equivalent to about 2 years of full time work
  • You must submit proof of graduation (TRU official transcripts) for the 9 month Program to the ITA as soon as you have obtained employment and an offer of Sponsorship and Apprenticeship
  • While working as a Registered Apprentice you may complete your Level II Apprenticeship training at TRU (4 weeks) Usually recommended one year after TRU graduation
  • At the end of or last day of your level II training you will write your Certificate of Qualification examination at TRU
  • You will be notified by the ITA wither you have passed or failed
  • If you have passed the TQ you then need to only complete your 3600 hours and submit proof of your hours worked to the ITA
What training do I need prior to applying for an Apprenticeship?

A post secondary entry level meat cutting certificate will help you move up quickly in your career. In addition, seeking a company that will sponsor you as a registered apprentice will not only speed up your career goals but will greatly improve your knowledge and confidence as you become a journeyman meat cutter enabling you to take on more responsibility and challenging duties that complement your training and support company objectives for future leadership roles.

What kind of salary and working conditions can I expect?

Depending on your level of experience, and your provincial standards, Journeyman Retail Meat Cutters can typically earn up to $50,000 (est.) per year.

You can expect to work indoors, behind the meat counter in the meat section of the grocery store, and in temperature-controlled conditions including freezer areas.

You’ll be on your feet for most of the work day and routinely lift items weighing up to 25 kilograms. You’ll also work with sharp instruments such as knives and saws in addition to other meat cutting machines to craft quality meat cuts.

What are my options once I am are qualified?

As a Journeyman Retail Meat Cutter you can move up as far and as fast as you’re willing to work for at most retail establishments. Like working with people? Become a manager or supervisor. Like working with specialty cuts? Get into the world of value-added processing. Like the business of meat and want to work for yourself? Learn the trade and open your own custom meat shop.