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Chemical plant process operator Chemical process operator, chemical plant worker, chemical plant operator

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As a chemical plant operator, you'll control machinery that makes chemical products, including paints, cleaning fluids and cosmetics.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements but experience of manufacturing work could help you get a job.

A forklift truck licence may be useful.

GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English, maths, and a science subject could also help.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Cogent Skills has more information about working in the chemicals industry.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • maths skills for weighing raw materials
  • IT skills for recording data and stock control
  • close attention to detail to monitor machinery
  • the ability to think and react quickly to problems

3. What you'll do

You'll usually work under a qualified engineer. Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • setting up production machinery
  • mixing and loading raw materials into tanks
  • reading instruments and making adjustments to settings
  • taking samples and recording data to monitor quality
  • packing and storing finished batches
  • stock control
  • cleaning and maintaining machinery
  • reporting problems

You'll need to follow strict health and safety guidelines.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £19,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

You may earn extras like a bonus or overtime pay.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work about 40 hours a week which can include shifts covering nights and weekends.

You'll work in a chemical processing plant and wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into quality control, lab work, maintenance or shift management.

With further study, you could become a process technician.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018