Broken Hill’s newest butcher not afraid of being in the minority

Female Butcher Australia

In a largely male-dominated profession where Australian Government statistics reveal less than six per cent of Australia’s current 12,700 butchers are female; Broken Hill’s Zoe Edgecombe is happy to be in the minority.

In February, Ms Edgecombe was signed up to a Certificate III in Meat Processing (Retail Butcher) at Top End Meat (219 Argent St) via not-for-profit apprenticeship provider, VERTO. A former admin and customer service assistant, she had “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.”

“When the opportunity came up to do an apprenticeship, I decided to give it a go. 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.

“I’m enjoying it so far; all the boys have been really helpful. I’m looking forward to learning all the different cuts. It’s not always the prettiest job, but it’s something I love.”

While the number of female apprentices in NSW has more than doubled according to VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell, women still represent a fraction of many industries, especially butchery, as Ms Edgecombe put a call out for any other female thinking of making a move a different trade or profession.

“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,” Ms Edgecombe says.

For any female considering a trade, VERTO offers specialist assistance and ongoing mentorship and can be contacted for more information via phone on 1300 483 786 or by visiting

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