SHANNON TELFER has been raising a few eyebrows at work recently.
The 23-year-old is Continental Meat Supply’s first female apprentice butcher.
“I’ve got a lot of people shocked and say ‘you’re doing an apprenticeship as a butcher?’” Telfer says.
“But it’s pretty nice to have that shock as well as getting rid of the stigma—we can do just as many jobs as anyone else.”
After helping out in the store’s kitchen for more than a year, Telfer developed an interest in butchery and asked to learn a “few things”.
When the owners offered her an apprenticeship, Telfer jumped at the opportunity, and she’s now seven months into a three-year course.
She’s not squeamish and her favourite part of being a butcher is “getting all the bones out.”
“It sounds horrible saying it like that, but getting them out without having to cut into the meat; I find that really good,” Telfer says.
“It’s a little bit artistic as well, you get to display it and make it look pretty so people don’t see it as what it was.”
Telfer says CMS is like a “family” and she has started to build up her own customer base, even winning over some old-fashioned skeptics.
“I’ve got a few customers who won’t even let me go near their food—‘He can do it.’ ‘I want the other butcher.’ ‘Are you a butcher?’” she says.
“But once you tell them and they see that you can do it, they’re okay.
“I’ve got a few customers that are my customers now too, and it makes me feel really appreciated when they come in and ask for me.”
Telfer’s mentor Brendan Stinton says she is a great addition to the CMS team and hopes other women will follow her lead and don the butcher’s apron.
“The customers, they’re stoked, and Shannon’s definitely more hands on,” Stinton says.
“She’s not intimidated by whatever task you give her, as opposed to some young guys.
“We’ve never had a female apprentice, but I suspect we’ll be having a few more after Shannon.”
by EMILEE NEESON
Continental Meat Supply
Shop 2, 54 Rockingham Road, Hamilton Hill