Job Description:

Paper makers make products, including tissue and heavy board, from wood and recycled materials.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

In your day-to-day tasks you could:

  • operate processing machines
  • remove metals and plastics from recycled materials
  • oversee the production process
  • check for damaged or sub-standard paper
  • store and load paper products ready for delivery


You’ll need:

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

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You can do a papermaker advanced apprenticeship.

This usually takes about 36 months to complete as a mix of learning on the job and study.

Direct Application
You can apply directly for vacancies. You might be taken on as a trainee. Although you do not need specific qualifications, you may have an advantage when looking for work if you have done maths and English in school, or have equivalent qualifications.

Experience in paper recycling, production line work or being trained in forklift driving may be helpful.

School Subjects

To become a papermaker in the UK, there isn’t a specific set of GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects that are mandatory. However, certain subjects can be helpful and relevant to the papermaking industry. Here are some GCSE subjects that could be beneficial:

  1. Design and Technology (or Resistant Materials): This subject provides a foundation in design principles and practical skills, which can be useful for understanding the machinery and processes involved in papermaking.
  2. Chemistry: Papermaking involves chemical processes, so a basic understanding of chemistry can help you comprehend the reactions and treatments used in the industry.
  3. Physics: Physics can be relevant for understanding mechanical aspects of papermaking machinery and processes.
  4. Mathematics: Mathematics is essential for measurements, calculations, and understanding the technical aspects of papermaking.
  5. Business Studies or Economics: Understanding business concepts can be valuable if you plan to work in the commercial side of the papermaking industry.
  6. Environmental Science or Geography: These subjects can help you understand the environmental impact of papermaking and how the industry strives for sustainability.

It’s important to note that becoming a papermaker often requires hands-on experience and specialized training, which may be obtained through apprenticeships, vocational courses, or on-the-job training provided by papermaking companies. While GCSE subjects can be helpful, they are not the sole determining factor in pursuing a career as a papermaker. Practical skills, passion for the industry, and relevant work experience can also play a crucial role in becoming a successful papermaker.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typical working hours consist of 41-43 hours of work each week. You could work in shifts between 8am and 6pm.

You could work in a factory. Your working environment may be noisy, hot and humid and you may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With training and experience you could move into jobs in quality control or paper technology.

Other career options include supervisory management, technical sales or production plant management.