How to become a Production Operative? Production worker assembling a car door

How to become an Assembly Operative?

Overview

Job Role Assembly Operative
Responsibilities Completing tasks in a specific section of an assembly line, whilst meeting targets.
Salary

£8.33 per hour / £20,719 per year


What do I need to do to become an Assembly Operative?

An Assembly Operative is someone who works as part of a team to put goods together in a factory or warehouse. You’ll normally work on a line, which is a conveyor belt of items needing your input in some way. There are lots of companies with factories and warehouses all over the country, which means you should be able to find a job that’s close to where you live. You could be working on the assembly line for things like automotives, aircrafts, electronic goods or appliances.

Pay can vary greatly depending on your experience and type of work. For a production assembly operator, the average annual salary is around £20,719, or £8.33 an hour, according to payscale.com. However, roles that involve more complex assembly duties often pay more as you become more experienced. For example, an assembly operative of vehicles and metal goods could earn an average annual salary of £34,936, according to the website careersmart.

This type of work is usually offered as shift work, meaning you could be working early mornings, evenings and sometimes through the night. There are variety of shift patterns that would suit you if working regular Monday to Friday, 9-5 hours does not fit with your lifestyle or other commitments. It’s also great if you need some temporary work to earn extra cash.

Your day-to-day duties will depend on which section you are assigned to, and you will normally stay there for the whole shift. You will usually have targets to meet, and be responsible for reporting any issues with machinery or goods on the assembly line.

Vacancies for this type of role will usually be advertised on specialist jobs boards, and on the careers page of companies’ websites. Use the search function to look for jobs that match your experience, location and the type of employment you’re looking for. Make sure you read the full job description, and apply in the way that it asks. This may be an online application form, sending your CV in an email or making a phone call to the company to get more information.

There are no specific qualifications or education subjects required to do this role. A good level (GCSE or equivalent) of Maths and English would be useful. A key skill needed to succeed as an assembly operative is the ability to focus on repetitive tasks and a keen eye for detail. This is because you need to be able to perform a task consistently, and notice any mistakes that you, the machine, or colleagues make. These errors can damage the product, and even put you or colleagues in danger. If you’re ever unsure about something like this in the workplace, ask for help. 

You will need to have good communication skills and work well in a team. You will also need to be self-motivated and be driven by your targets. These may be by number of items assembled, or work done per hour.

If you have any experience of working in a factory or warehouse, this will be a great addition to your CV. Stacking shelves and organising stock in a retail role will also have given you lots of skills that are relevant to an assembly operative role.

To do well in this role you’ll need to be a methodical and reliable worker. This means listening carefully to instructions and carrying them out in order, and arriving on time each day for the correct shift. Working safely and making sure you meet health and safety requirements is extremely important. Your manager or supervisor should explain these procedures and precautions to you for each tasks and area of work. And you should always report any issues to your manager immediately.

If you want to progress your career in the manufacturing and production industry, you could aim to become a line supervisor or team leader. This would mean a pay rise and increased responsibilities. You will be looking after a section and its employees, and making sure targets are safely met. To get this promotion, you’ll need to show you have good leadership skills and are eager to learn new skills.

This role can also be a great stepping-stone into other areas of work such as working in areas like retail and farming. Or, another option is to move to another area of the factory or warehouse. There are a huge variety of jobs like being a lorry or forklift truck driver in transport and logistics, to equipment maintenance or quality control.

If you like the company you work for and have made a good impression as an assembly operative, speak to your supervisor about your career goals. Companies are normally eager to support good employees who want to widen their skill set or seek out more responsibility.

This is also a good job for learning a great deal of transferable skills that will help you in other lines of work. For example, it will show you are able to follow instructions, and work safely within health and safety regulations. It will also improve your communication and team working skills. As you progress and gain more responsibility, you can also build up your people and leadership skills, which are great for any job where you manage a team.

It’s important to realise that working on a factory line is a tough job, and it is a noisy and busy environment. But if you enjoy be active and meeting your targets, it could be a good fit for you. Another bonus with this sort of work is that if you want to pick up extra shifts to earn some more money there will likely be lots of opportunities.

As shift work is common in this line of work, think about whether the early starts, evening and weekend work will be suitable for you. You might be able to find work with set shift times, such as 7am-3pm so look at your options. Factories and warehouses are often out of town, and not always near public transport, so having a driving licence and car may be essential for you to get to work. If you don’t have a UK-issued driving licence, you can read about how to get one in this step-by-step guide.


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