8 August 2023

In an African first, 62 butchery managers and trainers – 13 of which are women – joined the global club of certified Master Butchers following graduation from the Shoprite Group’s Master Meat Artisan Programme.  

The Group is the only company on the continent to provide this elite and highly specialised butchery learning programme, underwritten by the United Kingdom’s Institute of Meat, that provides participants with extensive knowledge in meat processing practices from farm to fork.  

To qualify, butchers are required to build a substantial portfolio of evidence that includes modules on butchery expertise, food hygiene and safety, and business acumen, among others.  

A woman with a hairnet sharpening her knife. Master Butcher Dorothy Labuschagne is based in the butchery training department at Checkers Hyper Edenvale, Gauteng. She joined the Shoprite Group 28 years ago gaining extensive knowledge and expertise in the meat industry over the years.

“The Master Meat Artisan Programme was truly an eye-opener for me. Prior to joining, I believed I knew everything about the meat market. This programme has enhanced my knowledge in various areas, including improved customer service, better meat quality methodologies, how to pair different meat cuts with condiments or other ingredients, and advanced management skills.”  

Dorothy Labuschagne, butchery training department at Checkers Hyper Edenvale, Gauteng

A woman in a white coat and an apron over it. Fundeka Ndyoki, from the Shoprite Meat Market Divisional Office in Centurion. As a female in the predominantly male-dominated meat industry, Fundeka says she had to work hard to prove herself, shaping her own journey through continuous growth, learning, and breaking barriers.

“The Master Meat Artisan Programme has undeniably placed me on the map, equipping me with skills that have transformed me into a more adept leader in the workplace. The management courses resonated deeply, providing invaluable insights on effective collaboration. I've refined my leadership abilities, finding fulfillment in enabling others to become better leaders themselves.”

- Fundeka Ndyoki, Shoprite Meat Market Divisional Office in Centurion, Gauteng

It is anticipated that the Group will enroll approximately 150 more qualifying butchery managers over the next five years. This will boost the development of butchery skills that are particularly scarce and sought-after, while putting the retailer, and South Africa, on the map as world-class specialists in butchery operational practices.  

The programme is also pivotal in providing sustainable career path opportunities for the Group's Meat Market employees. 

“The fact that this programme requires ten years’ experience, with at least five as a Meat Market manager, to enroll, reflects our commitment to supporting our butchers on their long-term vocational journeys, equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge to excel in the butchery profession.” 

- Johan Hunter, General Manager of the Group’s Meat Markets

Some of the women who recently joined the global club of certified Master Butchers:

A woman standing next to a butchery fridge. Lydia Thithi, master butcher from Shoprite Boitumelo, Welkom in the Free State. Lydia worked in clothing retail before joining Shoprite Boitumelo Junction in 2011 through the Group’s Meat Market learnership programme. She held various positions before being promoted to Meat Market Manager.

A woman standing in a store butchery. Jeanette Niemand, from Checkers Langenhoven in Bloemfontein (Free State) is honoured to be one of the first women at the Group to qualify as Master Butcher and says she can't wait to share what she has learnt with customers.

A woman standing in front of a tray of meat. Elizabeth Moloi from Alberton in Gauteng graduated from the Group’s Master Meat Artisan Programme in July 2023 and says she that seeing a skilled blockman cutting primal meat cuts into retail cuts years ago drew her into the industry.

A woman wearing a white coat and apron standing in front of a butchery fridge. Ntombizandile Moyeni, the master butcher from Shoprite Fingoland in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape says she plans to use the knowledge gained in the programme to continuously improve her skills and share it with her colleagues in order to provide their customers with excellent service.

A woman with trays of mean in front of her. Portia Zwakala from Checkers Cornubia in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, appreciates having opportunities to continually further her career and is excited to have her dream of becoming a Senior Meat Market Manager a reality.