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Food packaging operative

Food packaging operatives work on production lines to put food and drink products into containers, cans or packets.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £12,500 to £20,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but it may help if you have:

  • previous experience of work on a manufacturing production line
  • a forklift licence
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • good observational skills
  • the ability to work quickly
  • good teamworking skills

3. What you'll do

Your duties might include:

  • checking products on the production line for quality
  • keeping machines supplied with packaging materials and labels
  • reporting machine faults
  • adjusting machine settings
You’ll keep machines and production areas clean during your shift. You might also move packaged items around the warehouse using pallet trolleys or a forklift truck. 

4. Salary

Starter: £12,500 to £16,000

Experienced: £17,000 to £20,000

You may get more for working night shifts.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift system. This will often include evenings and weekends. Overtime is common. 

Factories can be noisy and hot or cool, depending on the product being packed. 

You’ll wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager.

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Last updated: 14 December 2016