Process operative, factory worker
Production workers manufacture goods and parts in industries like pharmaceuticals, food and drink, construction and engineering.
Salary range: £14,000 to £20,000
How to become a production worker (manufacturing)
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take an intermediate apprenticeship in engineering manufacturing or lean manufacturing.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could apply for production jobs directly. Some employers may expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent qualifications. Experience of production line work would be useful.
You may have to take a test at interview to assess your practical skills.
A forklift truck training certificate could be useful for some jobs.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be flexible and open to change
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- the ability to work well with your hands
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- measuring, grading and feeding batches of raw materials into production machinery
- operating production line equipment, like a conveyor line in a canning factory
- assembling goods on a production line, like fitting circuit boards into computers
- reporting equipment faults to maintenance staff
- finishing products, for example applying protective coatings
- monitoring the production process and carrying out basic testing and quality checks
- storing goods and raw materials in the factory or warehouse
- using lifting equipment and forklift trucks
- packing goods ready for shipment
- cleaning and maintaining work areas and machinery
You could work in a factory.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could be promoted to shift supervisor or move into quality control.