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Food and Drink Manufacturing

Food and drink production is a vibrant, innovative and exciting industry. It’s the biggest manufacturing sector in the country (larger than vehicle and aeroplane manufacture combined) and is a vital part of the UK economy.

Types of roles

Nearly half a million people play a part in producing a huge range of food and drink that is enjoyed here in the UK and exported around the globe.

It’s a diverse industry, offering employment to people of all ages, with a wide array of skills and talents.

There are jobs in production and packing that don’t need previous experience, and more technical or leadership roles, for example, in food science, quality control and sustainability.

In addition, there are many roles supporting the production process, from technicians and engineers who keep production flowing, to the office and sales staff and lorry drivers who get the food to the shops and customers.

Benefits of working in Food and Drink Manufacturing

  • A lot of entry-level jobs are available right now, and you don’t always need specific qualifications or experience. Search on Find a job (external website)  to see what’s on offer.
  • The sector pays competitive salaries and offers opportunities to progress through a variety of roles across all skills levels.
  • Food and drink manufacturers are located right across the country, so there may be jobs just around the corner.
  • Inclusion and diversity are increasingly important in food and drink manufacturing.
Woman in face mask, hair net and gloves working in a sterile environment

Desirable skills

Food and drink manufacturers look for clear communicators, people who work well in a team, show resilience and are committed to high quality standards.

Many businesses offer the opportunity to gain professional qualifications in areas like team or project management, health and safety, and food safety – allowing you to build the skills you need to develop your career.

Most food and drink businesses also offer a wide range of apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships that can support your development and progression in their business. You can search for apprenticeship opportunities on the Find an Apprenticeship (external website).

For more technical and senior jobs, you’ll usually need some qualifications or experience. If you have qualifications in STEM subjects (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths), then many specialist roles could be open to you, including food engineers, process operators, food technologists, packaging technologists or new product development technicians.

For graduate level roles, you’d normally need at least a 2:2 pass in a subject that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Learn more about skills for work options.


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