Level 3 Food and Drink Technical Operator

Level 3 Food and Drink Technical Operator Page Main Image

Introduction to the Apprenticeship

Food and drink businesses manufacture and deliver a range of products including biscuits, cakes, confectionary, fresh fruit, ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food, sandwiches, salads, drinks, and wraps. They also work across the key food proteins of meat and poultry, fish and seafood, and plant-based produce.

The broad purpose of the Technical Operator is to support the manufacture of quality food and drink products. Technical Process Operators conduct start-up, close-down, changeover, and handovers in the manufacturing process, often using highly automated equipment and technology, but also working with traditional processing methods. They keep the manufacturing process running through operating machinery, front-line fault diagnosis and resolution, asset care, and performing basic maintenance.

A key focus for technical operators is food safety, through application of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and monitoring and evaluating the feedback and results. As they operate in a regulated environment, they may be involved in conducting internal and supporting external audits to demonstrate compliance. This also involves completing and updating documents, risk assessments, and completing traceability records.

Food and drink manufacturing is often a team activity. Technical operators may also help to develop and support others through training and setting an example. They strive to continuously improve performance and quality (considering safety, quality, driving value). They support the implementation of new products or processes. During incidents, such as product recalls, fires, accidents, or near misses, they implement incident management procedures. Manufacturing process technicians will spend time on the production lines and off-line while working on activities such as projects.

In their daily work, they interact with process operatives, other technical operators and site teams. This may include engineering, maintenance, production, technical and quality, research and development, packaging and supply chain teams. They also interact with auditors, regulators, and customers undertaking site visits. They typically report to an operational manager and work with autonomy.

An employee in this occupation is responsible for working as part of a team to manufacture safe and compliant products, meeting the customer and consumer expectations. They work to meet deadlines, productivity, efficiency, hygiene, and environmental requirements, and ensure the health and safety of self and others.

As an expert in an organisation’s products and or services, they share knowledge and feedback with their team and colleagues, gather and analyse data and customer trends and information, which influences innovation, change and improvements. Utilising a range of organisational management information systems and IT services, carrying out their role with awareness of technology within your environment, from front desk, retail, webchat to laboratory services and business support, this programme develops knowledge, skills and behaviours to increase expertise in this field of work.

Duties apprentices will work toward:

- Prepare and run food and drink manufacturing line including hygienic practices, start-up, close-down, changeover, and handovers of manufacturing process.

- Monitor and record results of Critical Control Points in food and drink manufacturing.

- Customer Insights: Knowing and working with customers and their needs.

- Control stock, for example; intake of goods, storage of goods, entering information into management systems.

- Resolve ‘front-line’ faults, relating to machines, raw materials through to finished product, people or packaging directly or via escalation. Identifying the root cause where needed.

- Assist maintenance engineers by conducting first line mechanical engineering maintenance – preventative and reactive. For example, planned maintenance, repairs, and overhauls.

- Operational improvement and performance.

- Develop and support others.

- Conduct audits in line with industry standards.

- Support business projects and implementation.

- Undertake Continuous Improvement.


Individuals who want to achieve professionally recognised qualifications, can also access additional study outside of their apprenticeship, through off the job learning to completing NCFM’s professional short courses, including BRC Internal Auditing and Third Party Auditing, Food Safety and HACCP.



The method of assessment is through a combination of scenario-based assessment including, assignments, presentations, and portfolio evidence, with professional discussion.

Apprenticeship Standard

For more information about the Level 3 Food and Drink Technical standard, visit:


Apprenticeship End Point Assessment

For more information about the End Point Assessment Process, visit:



Contact us for more information about how to apply: ncfm@lincoln.ac.uk or 01406 493000.

Contact Us

National Centre for Food Manufacturing

T: 01406 493000
E: ncfm@lincoln.ac.uk


University of Lincoln
Park Road
 PE12 7PT