An operator is responsible for preparing, assembling and packing products for storage and transport. The specific tasks of an operator vary according to the sector (e.g. medical, pharmaceutical, laboratories, warehouse etc.), as different products (e.g. medicines, medical devices, consumer goods, industrial goods) all have their own different packing methods and materials. Common packing operations include boxing, wrapping, bagging, pouching, blistering, sealing and labelling.
In performing their tasks, in some instances operators could either use their hands to pack (manual packing) or use automatic packing machines (semi-automatic packing) of various types and levels of complexity (including filling, sealing, wrapping, labelling), each performing a specific packing operation. In the case of using an automatic packing machine, the operator monitors packing machine operations, ensuring that the machine is always loaded with the materials required, e.g. boxes, wrappings, lids, labels etc., and is also responsible for verifying the integrity and quality of the final product.
Requirements and training
There are no specific entry requirements to become an operator, but it is preferred for candidates to at least have obtained a general school leaving certificate or technical qualifications at an equivalent level. Often, due to production requirements, operators acquire the skills and knowledge required to carry out the work through on-the-job training, which may take the form of a period of mentoring or shadowing by a more experienced worker.
Employees needed for packing pharmaceutical products, can be provided with a specific training, specially tailored to the pharmaceutical sector, called farmaceutisch vakman. This is a three-months course at the end of which a certificate will be rewarded to the participants upon completion.
Another training option that can also be offered, a combination of partly attending school or a learning platform whilst simultaneously gaining on-the-job training. This is called MBO education for Operator A/B/C. You can do this with us where you will spend one-day at school and four days working and gaining experience (also called BBL in the Netherlands).
At Bluecollar we are motivated to training our people.
Skills and qualifications
The main skills that Bluecollar will teach you to a successful operator are a knowledge of how packing machines work and the ability to operate them when machines are used. For manual packing, an understanding of how the different components of a product are assembled and in which order, is important. Also useful is the ability to carry out minor maintenance tasks. Operators need to have good manual skills and attention to detail. Team-work capabilities are also essential, as the job entails coordinating with the other workers involved in the production process.