Occupation spotlight: food and drink factory worker

Find out how to become a food and drink factory worker and the career opportunities you can have.

On this page:

What a food and drink factory worker is

A food and drink factory worker prepares and packs food and drinks for storage or shipment. They may:

  • weigh products, peel, slice, mix and cook ingredients
  • operate and clean production line machinery
  • monitor the quality of the product
  • look at production machinery and equipment for faults, record results and report findings
  • perform a stocktake by sorting and counting products and recording the results
  • move products from the production line into storage and shipping areas.

You need to be flexible, pay attention to detail and handle the produce carefully.

Find out more about food and drink factory workers on the Jobs and Skills Australia website.

Some examples of other jobs within the manufacturing industry related to the food and drink occupation:

  • baking factory workers
  • brewery workers
  • confectionery makers
  • dairy products makers
  • fruit and vegetable factory workers
  • grain mill workers
  • sugar mill workers
  • winery cellar hands
  • other food and drink factory workers.

Find out more about occupations on the Jobs and Skills Australia website.

Entry level requirements

You don’t need formal qualifications to be a food and drink factory worker. Work experience and being able to understand and speak basic English is an advantage.

Food and drink factory work may be a perfect job if you:

  • are fit and healthy
  • work well with others
  • can follow instructions
  • have experience or are willing to learn.

Skills and knowledge

Food and drink factory workers need to be interested in preparing and cooking food, mixing ingredients for drinks, packing and sorting food.

The top 5 skills employers are looking for in food and drink factory workers are:

  • communication
  • quality assurance and control
  • forklift operation
  • labelling
  • packaging.

To gain experience and build your knowledge you may want to do a course or do some training. You could consider some of the following courses:

  • Certificate I or II in Food Processing
  • Certificate I or II in Baking.

Use our course search tool or visit the Course Seeker website to find higher education courses.

Pay and hours

Work will vary between full-time, part-time, and casual depending on where you are employed. It is common to work evenings and on the weekends.

Food and drink factory workers are an entry level occupation. Visit the Jobs and Skills website to find how much a food and drink factory worker earns and what hours they work.

Licences and tickets

While not required, having certain licences or tickets can increase your chances of getting a job. Some examples include:

  • holding an occupational health and safety certificate
  • holding a forklift licence
  • having a valid driver's licence.

Employment outlook

Food and drink factory workers are the fifth largest employing occupation in the manufacturing industry employing 32,300 people. Twenty-one percent of those employed in this occupation work part-time, and the average age of workers is 41 years. Around 50% of workers do not have any post- school qualifications. The number of food and drink factory worker jobs are likely to grow by 17.5% from now until 2026. 1

Possible career pathways

You can progress your career from a food and drink factory worker to another occupation in the manufacturing industry. There are many education and training options that can help improve your career pathways based on your interests, skills, and experience.

As you develop new skills there are several higher-skilled occupations you could consider. You could choose to work across a variety of roles such as:

  • product quality controller, examiner, grader, or tester
  • manufacturer
  • sales and marketing manager.

Some of these occupations require qualifications along with experience.

Most food and drink factory workers work in the manufacturing industry however they are also employed in industries like:

  • manufacturing
  • wholesale trade
  • retail trade
  • accommodation and food services.

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1 Source: National Careers Institute, Australian Jobs Report 2022, released 26 January 2023, accessed 27 July 2023. – Return to Food and drink worker outlook

2 Source: Jobs and Skills Australia, Labour Market Insights, Manufacturing, Industry Profile Data, released November 2023, accessed 9 February 2024.