Plastics and composites processors handle machinery that manufactures or finishes plastic or composite products by injection moulding, extrusion, blow moulding, blow film extrusion and other processes. They may also finish, repair, and refinish damaged products.
You can work as a plastics and composites processor without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a plastics and composites processor through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Engineering Composites Trade, Polymer Processing or Process Manufacturing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.
Plastics and composites processors may perform the following tasks:
Plastics and composites processors may have to wear special safety equipment such as masks, gloves, glasses, ear protection and protective clothing, especially when using spray guns. Some of the tasks involved in composites production may require working in confined spaces. Plastics and composites processors may be required to work shifts.
Plastics and composites are increasingly replacing more traditional materials like steel and wood in many everyday products such as motor vehicles, aircraft, bicycles, furniture and household appliances. People with design flair and people who are good at solving practical problems are in particular demand. Plastics and composites processors are often employed in small to medium-sized manufacturing companies, making products or components for the aerospace, marine, construction, water and recycling industries. Experienced workers sometimes set up their own companies and others may work on a subcontract basis doing a broad range of composites work. Work on products such as boats, surfboards and swimming pools can be seasonal.