Qualification: Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher)

Carving a career in meats

At 22 years of age, Jai North bought his own business. He initially walked through the doors of Ideal Meats in Wynyard, Tasmania, looking for work. The owner mentioned he was selling and would likely close if he couldn’t find a buyer. Jai seized the opportunity and is now the sole owner of Wynyard Quality Meats —and a proud one too—of the business.

Jai attributes his confidence in making an offer to his vocational education and training (VET) and national win at the 2016 WorldSkills Australia competition.

‘I competed against a lot of fellas from the big smoke, many who work in large, high-end butchers as opposed to a small butcher in little Tassie,’ says Jai. ‘Winning made me realise that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything. It gave me confidence.’

Backed by his Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher), completed through TasTAFE, Jai was recommended by a TAFE teacher to enter the WorldSkills’ 2015 Regional Competition, which he won. He then advanced to Nationals and picked up Gold medal in Retail Butchery.

At the three-day WorldSkills competition, Jai had to cut, dress and break down meats, as well as demonstrate how best to display them to entice customers. He also participated in a sausage tying speed test, making five kilos of evenly sized sausages in around 1 minute and 30 seconds.

‘A lot of people were watching. I was nervous, but it taught me a lot,’ says Jai. ‘Now I work in front of customers all the time, with my bench set up at the front of my butcher shop.’

Owning his own business isn’t always stress free but Jai loves working for himself. ‘Every call is my call,’ he says. ‘There’s no one above me. I’m the decision maker. It’s exciting.’

Jai speaks highly of VET and his experience at TasTAFE. ‘I enjoyed the hands-on study. It’s real,’ he says. ‘And my teachers were great and always there to support me. They were honest, open and really skilled. I’d recommend VET to anyone.’

To find out more about how you can gain real skills for a real career through a VET qualification, visit www.myskills.gov.au

If you are interested in an Australian Apprenticeship and how to get started, download An Australian Apprenticeship - Endless Career Possibilities brochure or contact your local Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

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