Food Packaging Operative

Job Description:

Food packaging operatives work on production lines to put food and drink products into containers, cans or packets.

Job Category:
Food & Drink

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • pack products into containers
  • check products on the production line for quality
  • keep machines supplied with packaging materials and labels
  • report machine faults
  • adjust machine settings
  • move goods to storage areas


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • knowledge of maths
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a food packaging operative, you generally don’t need specific qualifications, as many entry-level positions in this field focus on practical skills and on-the-job training. However, having a good general education and certain skills can be beneficial for securing a job in food packaging. Here are some considerations:

  1. Basic high school subjects: A standard set of qualifications in subjects like English and mathematics can be helpful, as they provide a foundation in basic literacy and numeracy skills, which are important in many job settings, including food packaging.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You can do a Packaging Technology or Sustainable Packaging Technology Course (Level 2 in the UK). This can teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

You may be able to start by doing a food and drink process operator intermediate apprenticeship.

Direct Application
You could apply directly for jobs. You don’t usually need any qualifications to start as a packaging operative, although it may help if you’ve worked on a production line before.

Restrictions and Requirements
You might need a forklift licence for some some jobs, for example to move finished products to factory storage areas.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work in a factory.

Your working environment may be hot, noisy and cool.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a supervisor, production line manager or move into quality control work.