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Plastics process operatives

£17,160 Average salary at age 20
£26,000 Average Salary
47 Average hours per week


Plastics process operatives attend and operate moulding, extruding, thermoforming, calendering, covering, cutting and other process equipment to make and repair plastic products.

Main Tasks

  • Prepares machine for operation by affixing any necessary attachments;
  • Weighs and mixes ingredients, loads machine with plastic to be worked or regulates flow from feed conveyor or hopper;
  • Monitors controls regulating temperature, pressure, etc. and operates moulding, extruding, calendering, thermoforming and covering machines;
  • Inspects plastic products for defects, takes measurements and repairs plastic belting and sheathing;
  • Trims, cuts and performs other finishing operations on plastic using hand and machine tools;
  • Makes artificial eyes and contact lens discs, and makes and repairs spectacle frames and plastic parts of artificial limbs and other orthopaedic appliances.


There are no formal academic entry requirements. Training is typically provided on-the-job, supplemented by specialised courses. NVQs/SVQs in Plastic Processing Operations are available at Levels 1 and 2. Apprenticeships leading to an NVQ/SVQ at Level 3 are available in some areas.

UK Prospects

19500 Workforce Size
10.03% Predicted decline 2022 - 2027
3963 Predicted Replacement 2022 - 2027

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