Manufacturing & Production

Production Plant Operator

Production plant operators control and monitor the machinery used to process minerals or make products such as paper, chemicals, textiles, toiletries or plastics.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Production Plant Operator do?

Production plant operators control and monitor the machinery used to process minerals or make products such as paper, chemicals, textiles, toiletries or plastics.

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Work activities

As a production plant operator, you would:

  • prepare machinery for the processing or production run
  • measure, weigh or mix raw materials
  • load raw materials into processing machines
  • set computerised controls and operate the machinery
  • regularly check instruments to ensure machines are operating correctly
  • take product samples for testing and record the test data
  • close down and clean the plant and machinery at the end of the production run
  • report any problems with the machinery or production process.
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Key skills and interests

To become a production plant operator, you would need:

  • to enjoy practical work
  • the ability to follow instructions closely and accurately
  • the ability to concentrate during periods of repetitive work
  • quick reactions and good hand-eye coordination
  • good communication skills
  • good maths skills for measuring materials accurately
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

You could work full-time or part-time, on a shift system, which could include nights and weekends.

Conditions

You would be based in a manufacturing or processing plant, and you would wear protective clothing for most tasks. You might spend a lot of your time standing while operating machinery, or sitting at a workbench or assembly line.

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How to become an Production Plant Operator?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a production plant operator without formal qualifications. You would receive on-the-job training on the manufacturing process, and occupational health and safety.

You can also become a production plant operator through a traineeship or apprenticeship in Process Plant Operations or Process Plant Technology. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Opportunities for production plant operators are expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations, and have shown a decline in recent years.

The moving of manufacturing offshore, including in the petroleum industry, has led to the decline of manufacturing generally in Australia. Many industries that employ production plant operators, such as paper, chemicals, or textiles, are now sourcing much of their product from offshore.


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