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Graduates prefer to sell pork

By Wu Ni |

China Daily

| Updated: 2013-02-20 11:24

For some customers, it is the chain store model, rather than the graduate butchers, that attracts them to Farm Pork No 1. To them, the chain store equals reliability and consistency in terms of food quality.

Chen, who graduated from Peking University in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in economics, established a butcher's school to train qualified meat cutters. He even invited his schoolmate Lu Buxuan to be an honorary headmaster of the school.

"Lu wrote a training course for the school. He has so much experience selling pork," Chen says.

Sun is one of the fresh graduates from the butcher's school. She describes the 45-day course as "really tough".

"During the first week, we had military training and those who were not physically strong were eliminated. In the following days, we got up at 3:30 am and started chopping sticks for 2.5 hours to strengthen our wrists."

Lin Wenqian, a veteran meat cutter and a teacher in the butcher's school, says that the meat looks good only if it is cut correctly and forcefully. During the whole training course, these butcher wannabes have to chop a ton of wood, among other items.

Sun also learned that there are more than 35 parts to a pig, and she now knows the characteristics of each and how best to cook it. With this knowledge, she is able to give her customers advice on which parts to buy for their recipes.

About half of the trainees drop out of the course or are eliminated during the final exams, she says.

Frontline butchers earn more than 3,000 yuan ($480) per month, while the annual salary for managers is more than 100,000 yuan, according to Chen.

"These undergraduate butchers can be promoted to become managers in two or three years if they perform well. The career advancement here is better than most companies," Chen adds.

Sun is looking forward to becoming a manager one day. But for now, she and her four colleagues have to work very hard - wake up at 5:30 am everyday, cut meat, cook pork for customers to taste, and put on pig costumes to distribute advertising leaflets in the market. Their day ends at about 8 pm when there are no more customers.

"Work is really exhausting, but I can see my future and am working toward it," she says.

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