Manufacturing & Production

Metal & Plastic Machine Operator

Metal and plastics machine operators set up and use machinery that cut, shape and mould metal and plastics materials.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Metal & Plastic Machine Operator do?

Metal and plastics machine operators set up and use machinery that cut, shape and mould metal and plastics materials.


Work activities

As a metal and plastic machine operator, you would:

  • construct machines and set them up according to technical specifications
  • supervise machinery to ensure smooth running
  • insert raw materials into machines
  • operate metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines
  • adjust and recalibrate machinery, checking temperatures, feed rates and speed
  • remove finished products and finish rough edges.

Key skills and interests

To become a metal & plastic machine operator, you would need:

  • to enjoy practical and manual tasks
  • good concentration
  • be logical and methodical
  • good technical skills
  • a high level of communication
  • an understanding of health & safety
  • problem-solving skills.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a metal and plastics machine operator you would work a standard number of hours per week, which may include shift work.


Metal and plastic machine workers are employed mainly in factories. Conditions may be noisy and hot. Although the work is not inherently dangerous, hazards exist and workers must adhere to safety standards. Appropriate safety and protective clothing and equipment would be worn.


How to become an Metal & Plastic Machine Operator?

Entry Level Education

No formal qualifications are required to become a metal and plastics machine operator. You would have on-the-job training over several months to learn basic machine operations. At least one year's experience is required to become highly skilled. Computer-controlled machine workers may need more training.

You can also become a machine operator through a traineeship in Manufactured Mineral Products. Employers would usually require a junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

Depending on the tasks performed, machine operators may be required to obtain a licence to Perform High Risk Work. Licences are issued under the National Standard for Licensing Persons Performing High Risk Work. You must be 18 years of age to be eligible to obtain a Perform High Risk Work Licence. However, training may commence at a younger age.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of metal and plastic machine workers is projected to decline over the next 3-5 years.

Employment will decline due to advances in technology, the closure of local manufacturing across a broad range of industries, and changing demand for the goods these workers produce.


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