What’s it all about then?
Your job as a bottler will be based around the operation of bottling machinery and you’ll be responsible for one or more parts of this process.
You’ll very likely be working in a food or drink factory as a well-trained and skilled operative.
You’ll be responsible for improving your part of the bottling process and making sure that everything runs smoothly.
What might I be doing?
This is likely to vary from employer to employer but may include:
- setting up and operating bottling machinery
- weighing up and mixing ingredients
- sorting out any problems with the production line so bottling is not held up
- reporting more serious machinery problems to your line manager or a technician
- keeping machinery clean and sterile, to meet high standards of food safety
- making sure bottles are correctly filled and labelled
- testing samples against a standard for appearance, odour and taste
- working safely as part of a team of skilled operatives
- Minimising changeover time between production runs
- Ensuring that all your work is done safely
What will be expected of me?
As a skilled bottling operative, you’ll be expected to have good practical knowledge so that you can set and operate complicated computerised machinery; you’ll also need to be unafraid to solve basic mechanical issues and make repairs as necessary.
This is the sort of job where you’ll need to concentrate and follow instructions exactly and pay attention to detail in everything that you do; you’ll need to make sure that you do everything accurately whilst maintaining line speeds in line with production targets.
Although part of a team, nonetheless you’ll still be expected to show initiative to keep things moving, whilst keeping within specifications.
What can I expect?
You’ll usually work between 37.5 and 40 hours a week, which could include shifts and weekend work. At busy times you may be needed for overtime.
The bottling plant will be extremely hygienic, so you can expect to have to wear protective clothing, such as hairnets and smocks; for safety reasons earplugs may also be required.
The work can also involve some lifting so be ready for this as well.
What about the pay?
You could start off on between £13,500 and £15,000, particularly if your employer is training you up to a skilled level during your induction period.
With experience the salary could rise to £21,000 with more again for those who become highly skilled, or take on supervisory or management roles
These figures for your guidance only and you should check when applying for work.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
There are no set entry requirements, but many employers ask for GCSEs – Maths and English at A* to C are particularly important, and some STEM passes will also enhance your chances.
You will find that your employer wants you to succeed in your career and will provide training at induction in food safety and health and safety, as well as training on the actual bottling machines you’ll be using.
You could also get into this job through an Apprenticeship so check this option as well.
Also, if you have previous experience in a food processing environment, this could also prove useful for you.
Where would I get these qualifications?
Check out your local Further Education college for details of food related courses.
What about further training?
Your employer will want you to become even more effective in your role and will very likely provide additional training, which will not only help you become more expert in your job but will lead to better career and pay prospects.
As a skilled bottling operative, you should expect specific training that benefits you in your role – if you’ve started off as an Apprentice at Level 2 or level 3 then the next stage could be a Higher-Level Apprenticeship, all of which will give you a head start for promotions within the company.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, the food industry is known for spotting talented and motivated people and promoting them into supervisory and management positions; so make sure you show off your potential from day one!
There are lots of opportunities for you to progress your career in food and drink – the more skilled you are the better you’ll do!