Australian Government statistics reveal that less than six per cent of all of Australia’s 12,700 current butchers are female.
Not deterred by these statistics, Broken Hill’s Zoe Edgecombe is happy to be one of the minority after not-for-profit apprenticeship provider, VERTO, signed her up to start a Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher) at Top End Meats in February this year.
“I had been working here for three years in admin and customer service before I started an apprenticeship, but to be honest I just got sick of asking all the boys how to do things when it came to meats, so I decided I wanted to know how to do it all myself,” Ms Edgecombe said.
“When the opportunity came up to do an apprenticeship, I decided to give it a go. I’m enjoying it so far, all the boys have been really helpful. I’m looking forward to learning all the different cuts.”
Top End Meats owner Robert Moroney was full of praise for his new apprentice.
“She’s bloody brilliant actually. Very happy and impressed with how she’s going – she keeps all the boys on their toes.”
While it’s only early on in her apprenticeship journey, Ms Edgecombe is confident she made the right career choice, and believes she can forge a successful career as a butcher.
“I find it very interesting and challenging. I don’t really care that not many women work in this industry, my experiences have always been positive and I’m keen to see it through,” she said.
“It’s not always the prettiest job, but it’s something I love. If any other women out there have considered a career as a butcher or any other career that is predominantly male, I would encourage them to stop sitting on the fence and go for it.”
VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell paid tribute to Ms Edgecombe’s positive attitude, and said she should be an inspiration for others.
“Zoe’s story really highlights how young women can follow their dreams to build careers in traditionally male-dominated roles,” he said.
“In the last decade, the number of female apprentices across NSW has more than doubled, but women still represent only a tiny fraction of many industries like butchery. It is VERTO’s goal to help more women forge their own paths in trade industries.”
If you are a female considering a trade, VERTO offers specialist assistance and ongoing mentorship. For more information, visit www.verto.org.au or phone 1300 483 786.