Food and Drink Advanced Process Operator

Occupation overview

Food and Drink Advanced Process Operators work in one of the largest, most dynamic and fastest growing sectors of industry. Every day, producers, manufacturers and retailers make and sell millions of innovative food products to consumers in the UK and around the world. This includes drinks, cakes, biscuits, ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food, sandwiches, wraps, fresh fruit and salads. It is imperative that apprentices in the industry have the skills and knowledge to ensure our food products, which millions of people consume every day, are safe.


Advanced Operators work in the manufacturing sector of the food and drink industry. They typically work on production lines in manufacturing plants, but will spend some time offline while working on activities such as new product development. They have both knowledge and skills in preventative maintenance activities and Continuous Improvement (CI) techniques, which are essential to maintaining and improving productivity in food and drink manufacturing sites.


Whichever part of the industry they choose to work in, on completion of this programme, the individual will be able to evaluate and make improvements to safety, quality and performance in a food and drink manufacturing environment.


Advanced Operators will develop an in-depth knowledge of food and drink products, health and safety systems, quality systems and Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP). They are trained to interrogate and interpret data to identify trends and carry out basic fault finding. This will help to avoid future faults and improve quality and productivity. Advanced Operators may be expected to lead others; as such they will develop skills in leadership and management.


On completion of this programme, individuals may progress into more advanced technical or leadership roles. This apprenticeship is an ideal spring board for potential future leaders of the food and drink industry.


  • Ensure compliance with Health and Safety regulations, eg Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
  • Contribute to risk assessment
  • Analyse and report data
  • Anticipate potential problems or delays and plan accordingly
  • Use problem solving techniques to eliminate root cause of problems
  • Evaluate and improve production in line with Continuous Improvement (CI) techniques and take responsibility for CI activity
  • Take action to minimise waste
  • Carry out routine and specialist maintenance of equipment, in line with organisational guidelines
  • Execute incident management protocols
  • Support a variety of internal audits
  • Participate in external audits, in line with organisational procedures
  • Contribute to the development and improvement of quality controls
  • Carry out testing for quality control
  • Take part in mentoring, buddying and on-the-job training
  • Interpret and implement Standard Operating Procedures to ensure working towards best practices



  • Principles of plant maintenance of equipment and processes
  • How to identify and resolve technical problems (including products, equipment and safety) in line with organisational processes
  • The process of introducing new processes, products and machinery
  • The wider business environment: internal and external customers, profitability and commercial awareness
  • Principles of:
    • monitoring and assessing risks, including Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
    • team leading, training, mentoring and buddying
    • asset care
    • data analysis and food operations
    • continuous improvement
    • incident management
    • multistage operations, including start-up, shutdown and changeovers, in line with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
    • internal and external audits
    • high quality systems
    • environmental management systems
    • health and safety systems
    • food science and technology
    • planning and stock control



  • Safe Working: ensures safety of self and others, addresses safety issues and concerns
  • Hygienic working: follows food safety procedures and policies, address food safety issues and concerns
  • Ownership of work: accepts responsibility and is proactive
  • Pride in work: integrity, aims for excellence, punctual and reliable
  • Self-development: seeks learning and development opportunities
  • Integrity and respect: for all colleagues
  • Working in a team: builds good relationships with others
  • Problem solving: identifies and participates in problem solving
  • Responsiveness to change: flexibility to changing environment and demands
  • Company/industry perspective: desire to learn about own company and food industry, acts as an ambassador
  • Effective Communication: confident and professional engagement with others, listens effectively, receives feedback
  • Demonstrates and encourages curiosity to foster new ways of thinking and working
  • Acts in alignment with the business vision and values


Entry Requirements

Employers will set their own criteria, but typically an entrant to this apprenticeship will already have achieved a minimum of Level 1 in English and maths


Professional Qualifications / Recognition

Apprentices are required to complete a Level 3 Diploma in Food and Drink Operations qualification prior to taking the end-point assessment for the apprenticeships.


Originally published on, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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