What’s it all about then?
As a shift manager you’ll be responsible for the day-to-day production activity within the operating environment, whether that’s in production, packing or the warehouse. You’ll take charge of the daily performance and schedule, including quality, productivity, efficiency, equipment efficiency and servicing, whilst maintaining the highest standards of health & safety, environmental and food safety.
You’ll have a lot of responsibility as you will probably be working outside office hours so won’t always have the back-up you’d expect during the day. This means you’ll have to be confident and resourceful in order to resolve issues as and when these arise.
What might I be doing?
You’ll support the site’s Operations Manager and Leadership team in all activities relating to production – taking direct responsibility for full site operations out of office hours.
You’ll manage all operations staff within the process, drive good team working across the different functions and ensure appropriate levels of training and development is provided.
You’ll oversee the production process and make sure that everything in your area of responsibility is running smoothly and effectively. You’ll work closely with maintenance staff and a team of supervisors in order to ensure that work is carried out in an efficient manner and meets the required quality standards.
What will be expected of me?
To be a Shift Manager in a food manufacturing company, you’ll need to be wellorganised and conscientious, with good leadership skills and the ability to make the right decisions quickly in a high pressure situation.
You’ll be an enthusiastic people motivator with excellent communication skills, and be able to analyse and plan effectively in order to balance priorities.
What can I expect?
Many food companies operate on more than one shift so you may be working during the evening or at night, and your shift might rotate on a regular basis or be a permanent one.
You’ll be employed over a 40-hour week, although there might be opportunities for overtime as well if you want.
You’ll have to wear protective clothing for your work and you’ll spend almost all of your time in the production area.
What about the pay?
The job is challenging, but the rewards are worth it. You can expect to earn between £35K and £55K – depending on experience, and career progression is there for the taking. With the UK food and drink industry’s skills shortage, you can expect starting salaries to be higher than in other industries. And with the right experience, there’s no telling where your career could go.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
There are many qualifications you can consider which will provide you with a good head start in food manufacturing, and these most likely will be either specifically food or business related. The EDEN Dairy Technology apprenticeship is an excellent starting point as it combines knowledge with gaining general experience.
If you don’t have these types of qualifications it needn’t be a barrier. Food manufacturing companies recruit graduates every year and they are interested as much in the quality of graduate management trainees as they are in the specific nature of your qualification.
Often the key to moving into these role is management and operational experience. A lot of companies ‘develop their own’, so it might be about starting with an organisation and proving oneself as a Team Leader and gain operational competence first.
What about further training?
You’ll find that your employer will give you with as much training as you need to develop your career and there are many part-time courses available that relate both to food and also business. Management skills are critical, so organisations are likely to provide inhouse or external courses which may lead to Institute of Leadership and Management accreditation.
Anything else I might need to know?
This will be a management role and you may have a wider remit with a team that includes supervisors and team leaders. During out of hours you may also have supervision for staff in other areas such as Engineering and Warehouse. – You’ll find this out when you read the Job Description or advert for the job!