Aston are able to offer a fully workplace delivered Apprenticeship


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



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.

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

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

K4: Quality assurance requirements and monitoring processes.

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

K6: Performance data in food and drink manufacturing.

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

K8: Stock requirements. Control systems. Stock rotation.

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.

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.

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.

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

K13: Basic continuous improvement techniques: 5S, KAIZEN.

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

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

K16: Documentation requirements for example, line records.

K17: Communication techniques – verbal and non-verbal.

K18: Reporting procedures.

K19: Principles of good team working.


S1: Follow food and drink production SOPs.

S2: Apply product quality assurance SOPs.

S3: Scan control, monitor and rotate stock.

S4: Check and use tools and operate equipment and machinery.

S5: Clean tools, equipment or lines.

S6: Comply with food safety regulations and procedures.

S7: Comply with health and safety regulations and procedures.

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

S9: Identify and resolve issues. Report issues.

S10: Apply basic continuous improvement techniques.

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

S12: Collect and interpret information – text and data.

S13: Record information – paper based or electronic.

S14: Use information technology.

S15: Follow work instructions – verbal or written.

S16: Communicate with colleagues – verbal and non-verbal.


B1: Put health, safety and food safety first.

B2: Put the environment and sustainability first.

B3: Take ownership of given work.

B4: Team-focus to meet work goals.

B5: Adapt to changing work requests.

B6: Seek learning and development opportunities.


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. 

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