How to become a Pulp and Paper Operator

Pulp and paper operators control various chemical and physical processes used in the manufacture of pulp and paper products from wood and waste paper. The pulp and paper industry uses many different machines and technologies to manufacture products. Plant operators are generally classified according to the process they operate, from initial pulping of woodchip and waste paper through to producing paper products.

Personal requirements of a Pulp and Paper Operator

  • problem-solving skills
  • able to handle multiple tasks
  • mechanical and numerical aptitude
  • interested in sustainable solutions
  • high level of health and safety awareness
  • able to work as part of a team and under limited supervision
  • enjoy practical and manual activities.

Duties & Tasks of a Pulp and Paper Operator

Pulp and paper operators: • operate specialised high-speed machines to manufacture paper according to strict technical standards • operate chemical and/or mechanical pulping plants made up of complex, interrelated process control loops • operate equipment that converts large rolls of paper product into smaller rolls, reams and sheets according to customer requirements • operate equipment that coats or finishes paper products, through perforating, embossing, laminating, printing, bonding and other methods • equipment that folds, wraps or packages paper products • inspect samples of products and laboratory reports, and adjust plant operations to maintain output and product quality standards • compile production records and reports.

Working conditions for a Pulp and Paper Operator

Pulp and paper operators generally work in teams and in shifts. Working conditions vary from control room based to field inspections. Work can be physically demanding and may be repetitive.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT ACT 0.5%

NSW NSW 29.1%

NT NT 0.9%

QLD QLD 16.1%

SA SA 4.7%

TAS TAS 3.7%

VIC VIC 28.2%

WA WA 16.7%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 95.6%

Female 4.4%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 9.5%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 32.8%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 42%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 10.2%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 5.5%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.4%

20-24 - 4.3%

25-34 - 22.7%

35-44 - 23.8%

45-54 - 32%

55-59 - 12.7%

60-64 - 3.8%

65 and Over - 0.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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