what is a production operative?

A production operative works in the assembly line in factories and production plants. Your job involves feeding raw materials into the machines and operating them during manufacturing. You can work in various production industries working with metals, plastic and other consumer goods. It is your responsibility to maintain the industry standards during the manufacturing process. You need to understand the finished goods' safety protocols and quality requirements.

Unlike a general production worker, you use specialised machines to accomplish your tasks. For instance, you use computer-aided equipment to cut metal and control machines. When you work in a warehouse, you package the products and prepare them for shipping.

what does a production operative do?

As a production operative, you need to be physically fit since your job involves moving heavy packages and raw materials. You operate heavy machinery during production, which requires manual dexterity. A production operative is also in charge of maintenance and repair of heavy equipment and machinery. You clean them and replace worn parts before production begins. If the machines need assembling, you work alongside other production workers to build the equipment.

Would working as a production operative suit your manual dexterity and interpersonal skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a production operative role.

production operative jobs

average salary of a production operative

According to ONS, the average salary of a production operative is £18,005 per year or £9.23 hourly rate. Entry-level production operatives earn an average of £16,383 annually since they have minimal experience and skills. Experienced workers with better skills and expert knowledge of production processes earn up to £22,592 per year. When deadlines are looming, you have to work during less sociable hours. Overtime hours usually attract higher hourly rates than standard hours. Some companies also provide various benefits like medical allowance, life insurance or contribution to a pension scheme.

how to increase your salary as a production operative

Your compensation package usually depends on your qualifications and hands-on experience. For instance, a production operative with experience operating a forklift and other machines earns up to £26,396 per year. Therefore, improving your skills and academic qualifications through short courses and specialised training can increase your salary. The job role and industry sector also affect your salary. For example, a food production operative role involves additional food safety standards and is likely to pay more than a factory role in producing plastic goods. Manufacturing processes that require specialised machinery also have better wages due to the job's complexity. If you want to boost your earnings, find a job in a lucrative industry sector.


trade operatives
trade operatives

types of production operative

As a production operative, you can work in various industries and perform diverse roles, including:

  • assembly line production operative: you work alongside other operatives on the assembly line during the production process. Your responsibilities may involve cutting raw materials, assembling parts and packaging goods. Sometimes, you are part of the quality assurance team.
  • machine operator roles: some production operative roles focus on using machines to manipulate raw materials. The roles involve using computer numeric control or operating forklifts.
  • food production operative: as a food production operative, you produce and package food products. Your duties involve weighing and checking raw materials before production and maintaining a clean environment. You also need to ensure food safety measures are adhered to and run quality checks post-production.
  • warehouse production operative: a warehouse production operative receives raw materials and stores them before production. You are also in charge of packaging finished goods and preparing them for shipping.

working as a production operative

Working as a production operative involves putting together finished goods and preparing them for sale. Let's explore some tasks and responsibilities of the role.


education and skills

Every employer has varying educational qualifications for production operatives. Some prefer entry-level workers with minimal post-secondary education since they train them according to their factory needs. Other employers prefer production operatives with prior work experience and expert-level qualifications. Some of the academic qualifications you need include:

  • college: a production operative can secure a job with GCSE qualification. However, completing a certificate course in forklift operations or maintenance gives you a head start. If you intend to operate computer-controlled machines, a background in computer-aided manufacturing or drafting comes in handy.
  • apprenticeship: a production operative needs an intermediate apprenticeship in lean manufacturing that takes a year to complete. Production operatives also undergo on-the-job training before they start working.

skills and competencies

A production operative needs the following skills to succeed:

  • attention to detail: a production operative has to put together product parts during assembling. You need to be detail-oriented to ensure you assemble the pieces based on the blueprints and technical drawings. You also have to maintain your focus during production to avoid accidents.
  • critical thinking and problem-solving skills: problems are inevitable when working in a production plant. You have to identify the issues promptly and solve them to avoid disrupting the manufacturing process. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills help you identify quick solutions.
  • interpersonal skills: production operative roles are team-based and collaborative. You work alongside various production workers and machine operators. You need interpersonal skills and communication ability to work with various teams.
  • physical strength: as a production operative, you have to be physically fit to lift materials and move machine parts in the production plant. Manual dexterity also improves your efficiency.



FAQs about working as a production operative

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