• 12/09/2019

How to Become a Production Operative

How to become a successful production operative worker

Encore Personnel specialises in placing production operatives across the Midlands and beyond. This job title covers a wide range of roles in a mixture of sectors and locations. No two production operative jobs are the same.

To become a production operative, applicants need a range of soft skills to get the results required and work to targets set by the employer. These include:

  • The ability to work as a ‘team player’, working within a team to hit targets
  • Ability to work methodically. Listen to instructions and carry them out safely and efficiently
  • Taking pride in the quality of your work
  • Ability to work quickly to meet quotas and targets
  • Willingness to help others in your team
  • The ability to work hard and work to the same productivity level as the rest of your team
  • Self-motivation – the ability to work productively on your own
  • Consistency, dedication and productivity will help you in any production operative role
  • Thorough attention to detail for quality checks

These jobs can also be temporary and seasonal, with jobs often increasing in demand in the festive period.

If you are attending an interview for a production operative role, it is best to arrive to the interview early to show you have excellent timekeeping skills and ask questions about the training required and the shift patterns available.

What are my responsibilities as a Production Operative?

The responsibilities of being a production operative can vary from one role to the next, but it is primarily a factory job where you will take part in a line helping put together a range of items.

Some production operative responsibilities include:

  • Operating large machinery safely
  • Ensuring production areas are clean and free from obstacles
  • Running quality checks on finished products, ensuring they meet the standards of your employer and flagging below-standard items
  • Ensuring raw material is fed into processing machines safely, including quality checking raw materials
  • Working on packaging and labelling items
  • Maintaining and repairing machines, and ensuring they run smoothly
  • Fixing machines that have broken down
  • As the manual world becomes more digital, you may be required to operate some basic software

You will work on a production or packaging line alongside other workers in your team. Awareness of safety and working safely is a major factor in production operative jobs.

Production operatives work in a range of sectors (outlined below), helping to build items such as white and electrical goods, or putting together food items such as pre-packaged sandwiches.

Because of the wide range of companies hiring production operatives, no two jobs are the same.

Food Production

If you have a passion for food, you may enjoy being a food production operative. This may be in a large factory setting where you are operating machinery or a more hands-on catering setting where you are putting together fresh food items such as sandwiches.

Working with food means the highest hygiene standards must be held. You will often be required to wear a hairnet and plastic gloves if you are handling food items. You will be trained in food safety.


Many production operative roles are based within manufacturing companies. These often involve operating complicated machines such as lathes, laser cutters, grinding machines and pressing machines.

These can often be noisy environments where it is vital that health and safety must be observed.

Automotive Production

If you are seeking a production operative role, you may end up working in a factory that puts together vehicles such as cars, motorbikes or buses.

These roles may include both manual hand assembly and operating large machinery to help manufacture and piece together vehicles.

Agricultural Production

The agricultural sector calls for many production operative roles. Many of these roles will be based in settings in the countryside and may include taking part in egg, meat or milk production.


The online retail industry has led to an increase in production operative roles within warehouse settings. Your role can include running and picking items within a large warehouse setting, packing and assembling orders and quality checking items before they are packed.

What are the required qualifications to become a Production Operative?

Production operative roles typically require no special qualifications or education. Experience in similar roles will certainly help you secure a job, and workers are often required to have basic English and numeracy skills.

Soft skills employers are looking for include focus and concentration, great ability for teamwork, high productivity, dedication and enthusiasm for the role and a keen eye for detail, particularly in quality check roles.

Some production operative roles can be physically demanding, as many workers are on their feet or walking during their shift, or you may be required to correctly lift and move heavy items throughout your shift. This means good physical health is beneficial to many production operatives.

What salary would I expect as a Production Operative?

The average production operative worker will earn between £14,000 – £20,000 a year, depending on employer, experience and shift patterns chosen.

Most production operative roles pay an hourly wage. This is usually above the current minimum wage of £8.21 for those aged over 25, or £7.70 for those aged 21 to 24.

Shift work is very common – this means many of these jobs offer flexibility with the shift patterns you can choose. It is rare to find a 9-5 production operative role, so you will have a choice of shifts, including night, day and weekend.

In a production operative role, you do have the ability to build a career. If you prove yourself to be a team player and you quickly ‘learn the ropes’, you may be offered a quality control, shift supervisor or team leader role.

If you work in a warehouse setting, you may be required to undertake forklift truck driving, which requires special training and may lead to a role with a higher salary.

A Day in the Life of a Production Operative

Your shift may start very early in the morning or late at night, this will depend on your employer and your sector.

Get changed into health and safety gear or uniform required for your job.

You may be taking over from another shift worker. Once it is time to clock in, you may be required to check targets set for the day for you as an individual or for a team and learn the skills for the part of the line you are assembling on the day.

Your shift may start with a team meeting where quotas are set, and information is shared to help your work at the factory.

As you work throughout your shift, you may be required to clean and organise the area in which you work at regular intervals.

You may be responsible for introducing raw goods or materials onto the line, packaging items, doing quality checks on products and checking operating temperatures for health and safety.

Applying for Production Operative Jobs at Encore

Encore hires for production operative jobs across the West and East Midlands and the North of England.

Call your nearest branch of Encore directly, or review our current industrial roles, including production operative roles.