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Agriculture

Food packaging operative

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

Annual Salary

£12,500 to £20,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

2%
Future employment

There will be 2% fewer Food packaging operative jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a factory.

Your working environment may be hot, noisy and cool.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
College

You can do a Level 2 Award in Packaging Technology. This can teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing a food and drink process operator intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You could apply directly for jobs. You don't usually need any qualifications to start as a packaging operative, although it may help if you've worked on a production line before.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

  • You might need a forklift licence for some some jobs, if you have to move finished products to factory storage areas.

More information

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of maths
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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