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Polymer factory worker

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Summary of occupation

Polymer factory workers operate the machinery and carry out other routine duties in factories manufacturing plastics, rubber, adhesives and/or other polymer products. Polymers are used in the manufacture of a wide range of products, including tyres, stationary, sporting equipment and adhesives. Much of the work in manufacturing plants is automated and computer-controlled, with polymer factory workers responsible for setting up these machines and monitoring their performance using gauges and computer displays. They are also responsible for feeding in raw materials and checking the finished products for faults, such as cracks, burns, discolouration and other defects. In some cases they may pack products for shipping.

ANZSCO description: Polymer factory workers operate the machinery  and carry out other routine duties in factories manufacturing  plastics, rubber, adhesives and/or other polymer products.
Alternative names: Plastic and Rubber Factory Hand, Plastic and Rubber Factory Worker, Plastic Plant Operator, Plastics Processing Machine Operator, Polymer Factory Hand, Polymer Machine Operator, Polymer Plant Operator, Polymer Technician
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A polymer factory worker needs:

  • to enjoy working with machinery
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods
  • to be responsible and safety conscious
  • to work as part of a team
  • the ability to follow instructions and production schedules
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Working conditions

Most polymer manufacturing operations in Western Australia are located in the Perth metropolitan region. These factories can be noisy, warm and in some cases noxious fumes may be released in the manufacturing process. Protective clothing, such as overalls, safety glasses and masks, is often required. Polymer factory workers may be required to stand for long periods, and some bending and lifting may also be required. Shift work is common in this industry and may include working nights and on weekends.

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Salary details

On average, polymer factory workers, classified under plastics and rubber production machine operators, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a polymer factor worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.)

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Tools and technologies

The specific machinery used in a polymer factory may vary, depending on the type of product being manufactured. Machinery may be used for tasks such as melting raw materials, injecting molten plastic into moulds, shaping a product by blowing air into it and for packing finished products. In some cases, polymer factory workers may use small hand and power tools, as well as measuring equipment, such as scales and tape measures, and other quality control equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a polymer factory worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

​You can also complete a traineeship. The operator - injection moulding, or process technician - injection moulding traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete and are both available as school-based traineeships. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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