Overview of the role

Supporting food and drink manufacturing operations.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the food and drink manufacturing sector.

Companies range in size, from small to large. They may produce one type of food and drink product or a range of products. Products may include biscuits, cakes, confectionery, fresh fruit, ready-to-eat and ready-to cook food, sandwiches, salads, soft drinks, and wraps.

Process operators typically work on production lines within food and drink manufacturing businesses.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to complete food and drink processing procedures to contribute to the manufacture of safe and compliant food products. They support technical operators to complete start up, set up, line changeovers, and shut down of food and drink production lines and machinery. They monitor product quality and throughput against key performance indicators. With a team focus, they prepare for the on-coming shift and provide handovers. Contributing to continuous improvement, stock control and audits is also part of the role. 

In their daily work they interact with other process operatives, technical operators and maintenance teams – depending on company size and structure. They typically report to an operational manager. They work under direct supervision. 

They are responsible for following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This is to ensure food safety, health and safety, environment and sustainability, quality, and customer requirements are met whilst working as part of a team to meet deadlines, productivity and efficiency targets.  

They are likely to be required to work shifts, including unsociable hours.


Typical job titles include:

Food and drink process operator Production line worker

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Complete food and drink processing procedures.

K1 K2 K3 K5 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K15 K16 K18 K19

S1 S4 S6 S7 S8 S9 S11 S12 S13 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 2 Support start up, set up, line changeovers, and shut down of food and drink production line and machinery.

K2 K3 K5 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K12 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19

S1 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S11 S12 S13 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 3 Monitor product quality.

K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K9 K10 K11 K15 K16 K18

S1 S2 S4 S6 S7 S9 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 4 Monitor product throughput for a line against key performance indicators (KPI).

K2 K3 K6 K9 K11 K13 K15 K16 K18

S1 S2 S4 S6 S7 S8 S9 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 5 Prepare for oncoming shift. Provide machine handover to oncoming shifts via verbal briefing or documentation.

K2 K3 K9 K10 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19

S1 S4 S6 S7 S9 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 6 Contribute to team briefings. For example, report on health and safety issues or production issues.

K2 K3 K9 K10 K11 K15 K16 K17 K19

S1 S7 S9 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 7 Contribute to continuous improvement. For example, collect data to inform improvement activity, apply 5S (Sort, Set In order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain).

K2 K3 K6 K9 K10 K11 K12 K13 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19

S1 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4 B6

Duty 8 Complete workplace hygiene activities in line with standards. For example, clean equipment/lines, hand-wash.

K2 K3 K5 K9 K10 K16

S1 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9 S12 S13 S15

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 9 Contribute to stock control.

K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19

S1 S2 S3 S4 S6 S7 S8 S9 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 10 Contribute to audits - internal or external.

K2 K3 K4 K6 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K19

S1 S6 S7 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16

B1 B2 B3 B4



K1: The food and drink sector. Types of organisations: branded and non-branded, high and low care sites. Types of food and drink products. Product origin and end-to-end supply chain. Customers and consumers. Customer requirements. Seasonal impact on product demand. Current food and drink trends. Back to Duty

K2: Food and drink process operator’s role. Position within business. How it adds value to customer and consumer. Limits of autonomy. Back to Duty

K3: Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). What they are and why they are important. Back to Duty

K4: Quality assurance requirements and monitoring processes. Back to Duty

K5: Tools and equipment used in food and drink production. Control systems. Requirements for cleaning, care, and operational checks. Back to Duty

K6: Performance data in food and drink manufacturing. Back to Duty

K7: Characteristics and properties of food and drink products: ambient, frozen, fresh, chilled, confectionery, liquid. Handling requirements. Effects of external influences. Back to Duty

K8: Stock requirements. Control systems. Stock rotation. Back to Duty

K9: Food safety. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). Good manufacturing practice (GMP) in the food industry. Chemical and foreign body contamination prevention. Metal detectors and non-metallic detection. Allergen control. Labelling. Personal hygiene. Back to Duty

K10: Health and Safety at Work Act – responsibilities. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). Risk assessments and safe systems of work. Manual handling. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Situational awareness. Isolation and emergency stop procedures. Emergency evacuation procedures. Slips, trips and falls. Safety equipment: guards, signage, fire extinguishers. Back to Duty

K11: Environment and sustainability. Types of pollution and control measures: noise, smells, spills, and waste. Efficient use of resources. Waste reduction and waste streams. Recycling. Back to Duty

K12: Common faults and issues in food and drink production. Problem solving. Back to Duty

K13: Basic continuous improvement techniques: 5S, KAIZEN. Back to Duty

K14: Internal and external audits in the food and drink sector. Back to Duty

K15: Information technology: production equipment digital interfaces, virtual learning platforms, management information systems, word processing, email. General data protection regulation (GDPR). Back to Duty

K16: Documentation requirements for example, line records. Back to Duty

K17: Communication techniques – verbal and non-verbal. Back to Duty

K18: Reporting procedures. Back to Duty

K19: Principles of good team working. Back to Duty


S1: Follow food and drink production SOPs. Back to Duty

S2: Apply product quality assurance SOPs. Back to Duty

S3: Scan control, monitor and rotate stock. Back to Duty

S4: Check and use tools and operate equipment and machinery. Back to Duty

S5: Clean tools, equipment or lines. Back to Duty

S6: Comply with food safety regulations and procedures. Back to Duty

S7: Comply with health and safety regulations and procedures. Back to Duty

S8: Comply with environmental and sustainability regulations and procedures. Identify and segregate resources for reuse, recycling and disposal. Back to Duty

S9: Identify and resolve issues. Report issues. Back to Duty

S10: Apply basic continuous improvement techniques. Back to Duty

S11: Apply fault-finding and problem-solving techniques to common problems. Back to Duty

S12: Collect and interpret information – text and data. Back to Duty

S13: Record information - paper based or electronic. Back to Duty

S14: Use information technology. Back to Duty

S15: Follow work instructions - verbal or written. Back to Duty

S16: Communicate with colleagues - verbal and non-verbal. Back to Duty


B1: Put health, safety and food safety first. Back to Duty

B2: Put the environment and sustainability first. Back to Duty

B3: Take ownership of given work. Back to Duty

B4: Team-focus to meet work goals. Back to Duty

B5: Adapt to changing work requests. Back to Duty

B6: Seek learning and development opportunities. Back to Duty


English and Maths

English and maths qualifications form a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and must be completed before an apprentice can pass through gateway. The requirements are detailed in the current version of the apprenticeship funding rules.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 2
Reference: ST0199
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 15/02/2023
Approved for delivery: 25 August 2016
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Minimum duration to gateway: 12 months
Typical EPA period: 3 months
Maximum funding: £5000
LARS Code: 130
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Bakkavor, Coca Cola, Dovecote Park, Ferrero, Gressingham Foods, Karro Food Group, KP Snacks, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Morrisons, Moy Park Poultry, Muller, Nestle, Ornua Foods, Pladis

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 Standard, end-point assessment plan and funding revised. 14/09/2021 Not set Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 25/08/2016 13/09/2021 Not set

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