What’s it all about then?
In this job you’ll be responsible for ensuring that the food manufacturing process complies with all safety and quality specifications.
This means you’ll be part of a team monitoring everything from incoming raw ingredients through to finished packed products.
Note that whilst, in many companies the roles of auditor and technician are combined, in some cases you may find them to be separate along the following lines:
The QA Technician actually does the routine checks and testing whereas the QA Auditor role involves checking the QA records and making sure that the company quality system is implemented correctly.
What might I be doing?
The exact nature of the job will vary from company to company but you can expect to be doing many of the following roles:
- Making sure all customer and legal requirements are met
- Checking incoming raw materials and ingredients
- Ensuring that weight and temperature measuring equipment is properly calibrated
- Checking product labels
- Performing regular routine audits
- Reporting any non-conformance problems
- Collecting samples for laboratory testing
- Supporting the production team to get things done and recorded correctly, and making sure that everyone complies with company food safety procedures
What will be expected of me?
For the role of Quality Auditor you’ll need to be an extremely meticulous person who enjoys detailed work.
You’ll have to fully understand all of the company and customer specifications so that you can quickly spot and correct any problems that arise during production.
As part of a team you will need to have really good communication skills, not only verbal but also written ones; of course you’ll still spend a lot of time working on your own initiative, particularly when covering shift production.
You’ll need to have a resilient type of personality because occasionally you may be required to make unpopular decisions with which others disagree.
The job is one which requires a high level of personal organisational and time management skills to make sure all of the work is done and recorded properly.
What can I expect?
You can expect to spend a lot of time in production areas of the factory although you’ll have some office time as well to make sure you keep up to date with quality assurance procedures and record all of your information properly.
Because your role is very much oriented to the production process you’re likely going to be expected to cover shifts and overtime as and when needed.
What about the pay?
This can vary from place to place and the nature of the role – many Quality Auditors have factory floor experience as line operatives and have taken on the QA role to enhance their career. This means that payment will be in line with that of an experienced operative as a starting point.
So you might expect £14,000 - £15,000 and upwards.
Please remember that these figures are for your guidance only and will vary.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You will find that having achieved 5 GCSE passes at Grade C and above will stand you in good stead if you apply for this role from the factory floor – this is especially true if you have one or more in a STEM subject.
All food companies provide induction training in food safety and health & safety but you hopefully you’ll have taken advantage of the further qualifications that many food manufacturing employers provide.
This will likely include a level 3 qualification in Food Safety and HACCP and possibly a COSHH awareness certificate as well.
Alternatively you may have successfully completed an Apprenticeship programme or even have undertaken A levels or a foundation degree.
Where would I get these qualifications?
Many employers will either offer relevant food qualifications internally or send staff who wish to progress to local colleges or private providers.
Of course you shouldn’t expect this to simply happen, rather you need to show your managers that you want to get on and improve yourself and your career prospects.
Check out your local colleges for part time courses that you can take which will help you with your career.
What about further training?
There are many qualifications that you can take to further your prospects – if you want to move into management you will have to consider taking a Higher Level qualification.
One suggestion would be to consider a Foundation Degree (FdSc) in Food Manufacture or Food Nutrition and Health.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, this is an extremely important role within any food manufacturing company because your auditing skills will make sure that all of the products comply with legislation, are made properly to specification, and are manufactured in a cost effective manner.