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Job Photographs

  • A man is standing in a busy factory.  He is operating a large piece of machinery.

    Bottling operatives operate machinery on a production line. Here, the amount of pressure is checked on a batch of fizzy drinks.

  • A man is standing in a busy factory.  He is operating a large piece of machinery.

    The machine that places labels on bottles is loaded.

  • A man is standing in a busy factory.  He is operating a large piece of machinery.

    Any problems must be noted. Complex technical problems will be reported to maintenance staff.

  • A man is standing in a busy factory.  He is operating a large piece of machinery.

    The machines have to be set up.

  • A man is standing in a busy factory.  He is operating a large piece of machinery.

    Bottling operatives are responsible for routine maintenance.

  • A man is standing in a busy factory.  He is operating a large piece of machinery.

    Crates of full bottles are packed.

Bottling Operative

Introduction

Bottling operatives monitor machines that wash, fill and label bottles. They make sure that the machines are set up correctly and loaded with the correct materials.

Work Activities

Bottling operatives operate bottling machinery on a production line. The machinery washes and sterilises the bottles. This protects them from harmful micro-organisms. Then, the machinery fills, labels and packages them.

The operative makes sure their piece of machinery is set up properly and constantly supplied with raw materials. They also do routine maintenance and manual cleaning routines.

Some operatives also carry and load bottles to and from lorries.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To be a bottling operative, you will need to:

  • Have some mechanical understanding to work with machinery.
  • Be good with your hands.
  • Have an awareness of health and safety, as some of the chemicals used in bottle washing can be dangerous.
  • Be reasonably fit, as there may be some heavy lifting involved. You may also have to stand for long periods of time at machines.

In large automated plants, operatives need to have IT and fault-finding skills and are likely to be more highly trained than those in smaller plants.

This job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

Bottling operatives earn in the range:

Starting: £13,000 - £14,000

With experience: £17,000 - £21,000

High flyers: up to £25,000.

Hourly rates range from the minimum wage to £11 per hour.

Hours of work

Shift work, including weekends may be required. Overtime and part-time work may be available. Temporary, casual and seasonal work is often available.

Future skills needs

The following skills shortages have been identified within the food and drink industry as a whole:

  • manage
  • rial skills
  • technical skills
  • quality assurance skills
  • written and oral communication skills
  • team working skills
  • literacy and numeracy skills.

Where could I work?

Employers are firms involved in bottling drinks such as wines, spirits, beer, soft drinks or milk. Some plants may bottle other products such as sauces, medicines or perfumes.

Opportunities for bottling operatives occur in bottling plants in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

You don't usually need any qualifications to become a bottling operative.

Training

Your training will be on-the-job by experienced workers.

For bottling operatives who reach higher level positions within a company, it may be possible to enrol on the Institute of Brewing and Distilling's (IBD) General Certificate in Packaging course. This course has been designed for people who may have few or no qualifications.

Progression

Progression could be to supervisory positions.

Work Experience

Previous experience gained in manufacturing industry, such as in assembly or packing work would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

You do not usually need any qualifications to enter this work.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Applicants with skills gained in manufacturing industry, eg, in assembly or packing work, have an advantage.

Statistics

  • 13% work part-time.
  • 4% have flexible hours.
  • 16% of employees work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

National Skills Academy for Food & Drink

Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry

Email: info@nsafd.co.uk

Website: www.improveltd.co.uk

Tasty Careers

Food and drink careers

Email: info@tastycareers.org.uk

Website: tastycareers.org.uk

Food and Drink Federation (FDF)

Address: 6 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JJ

Tel: 020 7836 2460

Email: press.office@fdf.org.uk

Website: www.fdf.org.uk

Taste Success

Address: 6 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JJ

Tel: 020 7420 7140

Email: tastesuccess@fdf.org.uk

Website: www.tastesuccess.co.uk

Taste Success Case Studies

Address: 6 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JJ

Tel: 020 7836 2460

Email: tastesuccess@fdf.org.uk

Website: www.fdf.org.uk/corporate_pubs/Taste_Success_future_in_food.pdf

Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD)

Address: 33 Clarges Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7EE

Tel: 020 7499 8144

Email: enquiries@ibd.org.uk

Website: www.ibd.org.uk

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