Food packaging operative


Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would help to prepare food and drink for sale in the shops by keeping production lines running smoothly.

You’d work on the machines and production lines that put finished food and drink products into containers, cans or packets.

You could be packaging:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Pre-cooked meals
  • Soft drinks
  • Confectionary

You’d work quickly and accurately to meet production targets. You’d need to have good observational skills and patience to do repetitive tasks.

You would:

  • Check the quality of products for quality and remove defective items
  • Keep machines supplied with packaging materials and labels
  • Report machine faults to shift supervisors and maintenance staff
  • Make minor adjustments to machine settings to changes from one product or container to another
  • Keep the machines and production areas clean
  • Put the products into boxes or crates to be sent to shops and supermarkets

You might also move the packaged items around the warehouse using pallet trollies or a forklift truck.

It’s important to follow strict health and safety guidelines, and have good standards of personal hygiene.

Working conditions


You would typically work 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift system, often including evenings and weekends. Overtime is common during busy times. Part-time work is usually available.


Factories are usually noisy and can be hot or cool, depending on the product being packed. You would wear protective clothing.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Reading
  • Cooperating
  • Observation
  • Working with numbers
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role.

Helpful to have

Experience of working on a production line.

Qualifications that show understanding of the manufacturing industry and health and saftey standards such as Skills for Work Food and Drink (SCQF level 5) or a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Food and Drink Operations (SVQ level 2/3).

A forklift licence may also be advantageous.