Manufacturing operator

process operative factory worker production assistant production worker
Manufacturing and production

Career outlook for manufacturing operator

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would work as part of a team making goods or parts in industries like pharmaceuticals, food and drink, construction and engineering.

For example, you might operate a conveyor line in a canning factory. Or you could put together goods on a production line. This could involve fitting circuit boards into items such as computers. You would need to work quickly and methodically.

You would:

  • Measure and grade raw materials
  • Feed raw materials into production machinery
  • Operate production line equipment
  • Assemble goods on a production line
  • Report equipment faults to maintenance staff
  • Finish products, for example by applying protective coatings
  • Monitor the production process and carry out basic testing and quality checks
  • Store goods and raw materials in the factory or warehouse
  • Use lifting equipment and forklift trucks
  • Pack goods ready for shipment in crates or other containers
  • Clean and maintain work areas and machinery

You would usually work as part of a team under the supervision of a shift leader, carrying out several tasks within the same shift.

Working with machinery means you would need to follow health and safety rules carefully. You’d also need to be able to concentrate for a long time whilst doing repetitive tasks.

Working conditions


You could work full-time or part-time, covering a variety of shifts, including days, nights and weekends. Overtime is often available.


Most of your work would take place in a factory on a production line. You may spend a lot of your time standing while operating machinery, or sitting at a workbench or assembly line. You would normally wear protective clothing, such as overalls and safety shoes.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Concentrating
  • Time management
  • Taking responsibility

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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.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based qualifications such as: 

  • a forklift truck licence
  • Scottish Vocational Qualification in Industrial Application (SVQ level 2)

Or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.