How to become a Production Operative Career Guide. Female Production Operative standing at the protection line looking at a screen.

How to become a Production Operative?

Overview

Job Role Production Operative (aka: Production Worker)
Responsibilities Assembling goods, or parts, raw material handling and quality control.
Salary

£7.79 per hour / £18,390 per year

What do I need to do to become a Production Operative?

A Production Operative, also known as a production operator or worker, is someone who works in a factory putting together goods that are later sold to customers. This could be putting together parts for a vehicle, a step in making electrical goods or furniture, or packaging food items. You could also be working on a production line for things like gift sets, children’s toys or food hampers. Because there are a so many different companies you could work for, there are job opportunities all over the country. This type of work also gets much busier in festive periods like Christmas, so if you need a temporary job to earn some extra cash there will be lots of shifts going.

The average hourly wage for this type of role is around £7.79 an hour, or £18,390 as an annual salary, according to payscale.com. If you are employed on a full-time contract, you could be working up to 40 hours a week. However, shift work is common in this type of work, offering you greater flexibility with the hours and days that you work.

But what will you be doing? You will most likely be working as part of a team under a supervisor. You will be assigned to a section and shown how to do your specific role. You will be set personal targets as well as group performance objectives. You will be expected to maintain a clean and safe environment at all times.

As part of this role you may also be responsible for loading raw goods or materials onto the line, checking things like operating temperatures, overseeing the packaging of items, or doing quality checks on products. It’s common to be moved around to learn different lines in the section of the factory where you work. Which is great for giving you variety in your work and the opportunity to learn new skills.

This job does not require you to have any specific qualifications or education background. Important skills that will help you do well in this role include a keen eye for detail and good concentration skills. These will help you to perform your job effectively and notice and report any problems with the machinery or packing. You’ll need to be in reasonably good health as this role requires you to stand on your feet for most of a shift. It may also be necessary to move and lift heavy items.

In this type of role, it’s essential that you are a good team player and enjoy working with others to get good results. This means not being work shy or expecting others to put in extra work to cover you. It also means being willing to help others from time to time and pass on tips and useful information to the people you’re working with.

You will also need to be a methodical worker, this means listening to instructions and carrying them out step-by-step, in the right order. Being able to work quickly, without skipping any part of the process or compromising on quality, will make you stand out as a production employee.

This is the sort of role where you’ll be meeting and working with a wide range of people, so it’s a great way to meet people if you’re new to the area. There are also many transferable skills to learn and if you find a company you like, there is plenty of room for progression and further training.

Vacancies for production operative jobs will be advertised on specialist jobs boards, and online on the careers page of company websites. You can use the search function to look for jobs in your local area or by type of contract.

When you apply for these jobs, make sure you read all of the job description and aim to show the employer why you would be a good fit. If you have any experience of working in a warehouse or stacking shelves this will be great to include on your CV and application. Being invited to an interview is the perfect chance to find out more about the job, and show the employer that you’re going to be a good worker. Make sure you arrive to the interview at least 10 minutes before it is due to start, be polite and friendly, and ask any questions you have. Some good things to ask are “what training will be provided?”, “what is the team like?” and “what shift patterns will I be working?”

Once you have gained some practical experience working on the line, you could look to progress by becoming a supervisor; your responsibilities would include overseeing a section and its employees, and making sure targets are safely met. Or, you could move to another area of the factory or warehouse, such as areas like transport or logistics, equipment maintenance or quality control.

Another option after working as a production operative is to do your forklift driver training. This will enable you to apply for counterbalance FLT driver or reach FLT driver jobs. If you’re already working somewhere, they may support you and provide you with this training meaning you don’t have to pay for it.

Factories are busy places, so it’s important to be aware that it can be loud and feel hectic. But don’t worry, you just need to stay focused on your job and meet health and safety standards at all times. Although some warehouses and factories have been reported in the media to be treating their staff badly, it is possible to find a good employer for this type of work. A potential downside to bear in mind with this sort of shift work is that it can mean very early starts, working late in the evenings, at weekends, and sometimes doing overtime in busy periods. But if you are someone who needs the flexibility and can’t work regular 9-5 hours then this could be beneficial for you.

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