How to become a Food Process Worker

Food process workers operate machines and prepare foods for processing using a wide range of equipment and methods.

Personal requirements for a Food Process Worker

  • Good communication skills
  • Enjoy practical work
  • High standard of personal cleanliness
  • Aptitude for technical activities
  • Attention to detail
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • No skin allergies or chest complaints.

Education & Training for a Food Process Worker

You can work as a food process worker without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job.You can also become a food process worker through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional information

For certain food processing work, such as poultry processing, you may need a forklift licence. See the separate entry for Forklift Operator for further information.

Duties & Tasks of a Food Process Worker

Food process workers:

  • Receive, check and store raw materials
  • Operate conveyor and processing equipment
  • Take samples and check products for dispatch
  • Check boxes or bins of fruit and vegetables as they are delivered and organise weighing and storage
  • Prepare and sort fruit and vegetables for processing and feed them into machines
  • Handle live or slaughtered poultry and prepare for cooking or further processing
  • Operate machinery for chemical treating, size grading, crushing, extracting juice, mixing, freezing and drying foods
  • Operate machinery to blend flour, meal and feed
  • Sterilise equipment and keep processing areas clean.


  • Regulates speed of processing machinery.
  • Moves products from production lines into storage and shipping areas.
  • Adds materials, such as spices and preservatives.
  • Operates processing plant.
  • Packages and bottles products.
  • Monitors product quality before packaging by inspecting, taking samples and adjusting treatment conditions when necessary.
  • Cleans equipment, pumps, hoses, storage tanks, vessels and floors, and maintains infestation control programmes.
  • Weighs, measures, mixes, and processes ingredients.

Working conditions for a Food Process Worker

If involved in the storage and conservation of grain, food process workers may take samples of grain for analysis, keep records of silo stocks and sew bags using industrial sewing machines. Those involved in grain mill work do a lot of lifting, pushing and dragging. Conditions may be dusty, noisy, hot or cold depending on the processes being carried out.

Employment Opportunities for a Food Process Worker

Food process workers are employed in confectionery, flour, poultry, fruit and vegetable processing firms, as well as other food, beverage and pharmaceutical processing firms. They also work in wineries, breweries and soft drink plants. Processing work tends to be seasonal, in line with crop harvesting times. This means that companies must regulate production to ensure that a range of products are available all year round. In some cases they operate on a reduced level for much of the year and take on temporary staff during peak periods.


Brewery Worker

A brewery worker produces, tests, packages, stores and dispatches beer in kegs, bottles and cans.

Dairy Process Worker

A dairy process worker operates a wide range of mechanical equipment, often from a sophisticated control room, to produce dairy products such as cheese, butter, milk powder, yoghurt, fresh milk and cream.

Fruit and Vegetable Process Worker

A fruit and vegetable process worker operates equipment to prepare canned and frozen fruit and vegetables, sauces, jams and fruit juices using a wide range of methods.

Margarine and Edible Oils Process Worker

A margarine and edible oils process worker operates equipment to blend ingredients for margarine and other edible oil products.

Pet Food Processing Machine Operator

A pet food processing machine operator operates equipment to manufacture pet food.

Pharmaceuticals Production Machine Operator

A pharmaceuticals production machine operator operates equipment to produce pharmaceutical products such as pain relievers, first aid dressings, cosmetics and toiletries.

Soft Drink and Syrup Making Machine Operator

A soft drink and syrup making machine operator operates equipment to produce syrups, fruit juices and soft drinks.

Tea and Coffee Processing Machine Operator

A tea and coffee processing machine operator assists in the processing of tea and roasted, ground and instant coffee.

Poultry Processor

A poultry processor slaughters, dresses, cuts, trims, prepares and packs poultry.

Food Process Worker

Food process workers operate machines and prepare foods for processing using a wide range of equipment and methods.

  • Average age
    Average age
    41 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    8% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Entry level
  • Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    85% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,200 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.5%
    NSW: 25.3%
    NT: 0.0%
    QLD: 23.1%
    SA: 11.8%
    TAS: 5.7%
    VIC: 25.3%
    WA: 8.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.2%
    20-24: 5.5%
    25-34: 28.2%
    35-44: 24.6%
    45-54: 25%
    55-59: 9.3%
    60-64: 4.3%
    65 and Over: 1.9%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 9.8%
    Bachelor degree: 21.4%
    Certificate III/IV: 20.9%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 7.7%
    Year 10 and below: 12.9%
    Year 11: 5.2%
    Year 12: 22.1%
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