Overview of the role

Working on production operations, setting up, and performing operational maintenance on food and drink machinery

Details of standard

Occupation summary

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

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

The broad purpose of the occupation is to support the manufacture of quality food and drink products. They conduct start-up, close-down, changeover, and handovers in the manufacturing process, often using highly automated equipment and technology. They keep the manufacturing process running through operating machinery, front-line fault diagnosis and resolution, asset care, and performing basic maintenance. A key focus for technical operators is food safety, through monitoring Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and recording the results. As they operate in a regulated environment, they may be involved in conducting internal audits and supporting external audits to demonstrate compliance. Demonstrating compliance will also involve completing and updating documents, risk assessments, and completing traceability records. Food and drink manufacturing is often a team activity. Technical operators may help to develop and support others through training and setting an example. They strive to continuously improve performance and quality (considering safety, quality, driving value). They support the implementation of new products or processes. During incidents, such as fires, accidents or near misses, they implement incident management procedures. Manufacturing process technicians will spend time on the production lines and off-line while working on activities such as projects. They are likely to be required to work shifts, including unsociable hours.

In their daily work, they interact with process operatives, other technical operators and site teams. This may include engineering, maintenance, quality, research and development, and packaging teams. They also interact with auditors, regulators and customers undertaking site visits. They typically report to an operational manager. They work with minimal supervision.

An employee in this occupation is responsible for working as part of a team to manufacture safe and compliant products. They need to meet deadlines, productivity, efficiency, hygiene, and environmental requirements, and ensure the health and safety of self and others.

Typical job titles include:

Advanced operator Manufacturing technician Process development technician Process technician Skilled production operator Technical operator

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Prepare and run food and drink manufacturing line including hygienic practices, start-up, close-down, changeover, and handovers of manufacturing process.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K7 K8 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K24 K25

S1 S3 S4 S6 S7 S8 S14 S19 S20 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 2 Monitor and record results of Critical Control Points in food and drink manufacturing.

K2 K3 K8 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15

S1 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S14 S17 S18 S19

B1 B2 B4

Duty 3 Control stock for example, intake of goods, storage of goods, entering information into management systems.

K1 K2 K3 K7 K8 K10 K11 K12 K13 K14 K15 K23 K24

S1 S3 S4 S6 S7 S8 S14 S17 S19 S20

B1 B2 B4

Duty 4 Resolve ‘front-line’ faults, relating to machines, raw materials through to finished product, people or packaging directly or via escalation. Identify the root cause.

K2 K6 K14 K15 K17 K18 K20

S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S17

B1 B2 B4 B6

Duty 5 Assist maintenance engineers by conducting first line mechanical engineering maintenance – preventative and reactive. For example, planned maintenance, repairs and overhauls.

K2 K6 K14 K15 K17 K18 K19 K20

S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6

Duty 6 Perform asset care tasks for example, lubricate.

K2 K6 K14 K15 K17 K18 K19

S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13

B1 B2 B4

Duty 7 Monitor performance for example, efficiency, wastage and compliance with environmental standards.

K2 K3 K8 K14 K15 K19 K20

S1 S2 S3 S4 S6 S7 S8 S14 S19

B1 B2 B4

Duty 8 Undertake quality assurance to ensure compliance with company/customer requirements, for example take product samples.

K1 K2 K3 K5 K7 K8 K10 K11 K12 K14 K15 K20 K26

S1 S2 S4 S6 S7 S8 S14 S17 S19

B1 B2 B4

Duty 9 Complete documentation for example, traceability, accident reports (near misses).

K2 K7 K8 K13 K14 K15 K23 K26

S1 S6 S7 S8 S14 S17 S18 S19 S21 S22

B1 B2 B4

Duty 10 Develop and support others.

K2 K14 K15 K23 K25 K26 K27 K28

S6 S7 S8 S19 S21 S22 S23

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B7

Duty 11 Conduct internal audits, in accordance with food and drink industry standards.

K1 K2 K5 K7 K8 K13 K14 K15 K22 K25 K26

S1 S2 S6 S7 S8 S14 S17 S19 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 12 Support external audits for example, act as a guide for area of responsibility and/or provide information.

K1 K2 K5 K7 K14 K15 K22 K25 K26

S1 S6 S7 S8 S19 S21 S22

B1 B2 B3 B4

Duty 13 Develop, contribute to or update risk assessments and standard operating procedures for area of responsibility.

K2 K4 K8 K14 K15 K16 K20 K23 K26

S1 S5 S6 S7 S8 S19 S21

B1 B2 B4 B6

Duty 14 Support projects, such as the introduction of a new process, equipment or product, by trialling processes, new standard operating procedures, and training others and sampling new products.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K6 K9 K14 K15 K20 K21 K23 K24 K25 K26

S1 S6 S7 S8 S14 S15 S17 S19 S20 S21 S22

B1 B2 B4 B5 B6

Duty 15 Undertake continuous improvement activities within area of responsibility for example, to improve quality, equipment efficiency, increase productivity, reduce run-time, reduce waste, or improve ergonomics of area.

K2 K14 K15 K20 K21 K23 K26

S1 S6 S7 S8 S15 S16 S17 S19 S21 S22

B1 B2 B4 B6 B7



K1: The food and drink sector. Food industry regulators: British Retail Consortium, Food Standards Agency. Types of organisations: branded and non-branded, high and low care sites. Types of food and drink products. End-to-end supply chain. Customers and consumers. Seasonal impact on product demand. Current food and drink trends. Back to Duty

K2: Food and drink technical operator’s role. Limits of autonomy. Different teams and functions involved in production. Business operation considerations: efficiency, customer satisfaction, competitiveness, minimising risks to production. Back to Duty

K3: Food and drink manufacturing methods and processes. How technology supports production. Characteristics and properties of food and drink products: ambient, frozen, fresh, chilled, confectionery, liquid. Handling requirements. Effects of external influences. Packaging types and functionality. Back to Duty

K4: Standard operating procedures. What they are and why they are important. What they need to cover and why: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), isolation and lock off, guarding, strip and assembly of equipment, step by step process. Use of visuals and symbols. Back to Duty

K5: Food and drink industry quality management standards for example, British Retail Consortium. What they are and why they are important. Back to Duty

K6: Food and drink tools and equipment: pumps, valves, lines, gauges, temperature controls, mixers, conveyors, depositors, sealers, touch screen technology, human machine interface, Programmable Logical Control (PLC) systems and handheld devices. Operating standards and equipment set points. Back to Duty

K7: Customer specifications: purpose and consequences of non-compliance. Back to Duty

K8: Line performance management. Key Performance Indicators. How line performance impacts profitability of the business. Back to Duty

K9: Role of line trials in new product introduction. Back to Duty

K10: Legislation and standards: Food Safety Act, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Threat Analysis of Critical Control Points (TACCP), Vulnerability Assessment of Critical Control Points (VACCP). Back to Duty

K11: Food safety: microbiology, physical, chemical contamination hazards and control. Food poisoning. Personal hygiene. Design of food premises and equipment. Cleaning and disinfection principles and procedures, cleaning in place (CIP). Pest control. Control measures. Supervisory management. Back to Duty

K12: Food integrity: temperature control, date code responsibilities, foreign object contamination. Documentation records. Back to Duty

K13: Material and ingredient specification requirements: segregation, storage, maintaining product origin, integrity and traceability. Allergen identification and control methods. Back to Duty

K14: Health and Safety at Work Act – responsibilities. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Risk assessments. Safe systems of work. Manual handling. Types of hazards. Near miss reporting. Due diligence. 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

K15: Environment and sustainability. Environmental Protection Act - responsibilities. Types of pollution and control measures: noise, smells, spills, and waste. Efficient use of resources. Environmental permits. Waste management. Recycling. Back to Duty

K16: Types of incidents - fire, accidents, near-misses. Mitigation methods. Incident management. Back to Duty

K17: Principles of mechanical engineering technologies and safe working practices: lubrication, hydraulics, fluid power, mechanical, bench fitting, pumps and valves, pneumatics, drives, fitting and hand tools, units and measurements, fault-location, stored energy and safe isolation. Back to Duty

K18: Different types of maintenance activities: preventative, reactive. What they are and why they are important. Back to Duty

K19: Food safety engineering: food grade oils, safe use of tools and equipment. Back to Duty

K20: Problem solving techniques: root cause analysis, 6 thinking hats, DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control), PDCA (Plan Do Check Act). Fault finding techniques: root cause analysis, 5 Whys, fishbone, half-split. Back to Duty

K21: Continuous improvement techniques: lean, 6-sigma, KAIZEN, 5S (Sort, set, shine, standardise and sustain), SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Dies). Back to Duty

K22: Audit requirements - internal and external. Five stages of audit. Responsibilities of auditor and auditee. Back to Duty

K23: Information technology: Management Information Systems (MIS), spreadsheets, presentation, word processing, email, virtual communication and learning platforms. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Back to Duty

K24: Planning, prioritising and time management techniques. Work management systems. Back to Duty

K25: Communication techniques: verbal, non-verbal. Back to Duty

K26: Communication techniques: written. Writing using plain English principles. Back to Duty

K27: Workplace training and buddying techniques. Back to Duty

K28: Team working techniques. Back to Duty


S1: Interpret, follow and implement food and drink production SOPs. Back to Duty

S2: Interpret, follow and implement quality assurance procedures. Back to Duty

S3: Monitor production performance, stock usage and rotation. Back to Duty

S4: Operate or use food and drink production tools and equipment. Back to Duty

S5: Identify hazards (Critical Control Points) and control measures to mitigate risks. 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 environment and sustainability regulations and procedures. Segregate, recycle and dispose of waste. Back to Duty

S9: Monitor and inspect production machinery. Back to Duty

S10: Apply basic maintenance practices. For example, check levels, parts wear, pressure, and sensors, and grease and lubricate. Back to Duty

S11: Select and use maintenance hand tools. Back to Duty

S12: Follow food safe engineering standards and practices. For example, use of food safe chemicals, check out and in of components. Back to Duty

S13: Follow site isolation and lock off procedures (lockout, tagout). Back to Duty

S14: Diagnose and resolve issues. Escalate issues. Back to Duty

S15: Apply fault-finding and problem-solving techniques. Back to Duty

S16: Apply continuous improvement techniques. Devise suggestions for improvement. Back to Duty

S17: Collect and interpret information. Use data to apply changes Back to Duty

S18: Record information - paper based or electronic. Back to Duty

S19: Use information technology. Comply with GDPR. Back to Duty

S20: Plan and organise self, others and resources. Back to Duty

S21: Communicate with colleagues and stakeholders visually and verbally. Back to Duty

S22: Communicate in writing. Back to Duty

S23: Identify training needs. Train and buddy team members in the workplace. Back to Duty


B1: Prioritise and promote health and safety, and food safety. Back to Duty

B2: Prioritise and promote the environment and sustainability. Back to Duty

B3: Apply a professional approach. Back to Duty

B4: Take responsibility for work. Back to Duty

B5: Team-focus to meet work goals. Back to Duty

B6: Respond and adapt to work demands. Back to Duty

B7: Committed to Continued Professional Development. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0196
Version: 1.2
Date updated: 08/04/2022
Approved for delivery: 25 August 2016
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Typical duration to gateway: 30 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £16000
LARS Code: 129
EQA Provider: Ofqual
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
1.2 End-point assessment plan, standard and funding band revised. 31/08/2021 Not set Not set
1.1 End-point assessment plan revised. 15/07/2019 30/08/2021 Not set
1.0 Retired 25/08/2016 14/07/2019 Not set

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