There are almost 125,000 individuals employed in Ontario’s food and beverage processing sector. In fact, it’s the province’s largest manufacturing sector employer.
At the heart of the sector is its processing workers. These are the workers on the frontlines every day to ensure quality products are produced in a safe and timely fashion. Behind every food product pick up in the grocery store aisles, there’s likely a team of production workers who helped get it there.
There are many types of processing jobs in the industry, and some may vary depending on the company. In fact, food processing workers are in extreme demand right now throughout Ontario.
Here’s a look at just some of the positions in demand and what they entail:
General labourers make up about 21% of total employment in Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry. They can be found in almost every food and beverage processing business in the province, including fruit and vegetable processing plants, dairies, flour mills, bakeries, sugar refineries, meat plants, wineries and breweries.
The specific tasks general labourers do will vary from company to company. For instance, what a general labourer does at a bakery may be different than what a general labourer does at a meat and poultry company. But some examples of tasks could include packaging, washing, cutting, labelling, and other activities related to food and beverage processing.
As a more entry-level job, you do not need any post-secondary education or training to become a general labourer. Though, some companies may require completion of high school or equivalent. Previous experience in the food and beverage processing industry is a huge asset.
Line operators work on a company’s production line. Specific tasks will vary depending on the kinds of products the company produces, but generally, the tasks of a line operator can include sorting products, removing damaged/bad ones, and other tasks related to preparing products for distribution. At some companies, a line operator will be assigned to operate a specific industrial machine in the production process.
Line operators do not need any form of post-secondary education, though some companies may require the completion of high school or equivalent. Other requirements include the ability to meet the physical demands of the job, good communication skills, and the ability to follow proper safety procedures.
In the food and beverage processing industry, health and safety are paramount. Sanitation workers play a critical role in ensuring both the companies people and products are safe.
Reporting to the sanitation manager, sanitation workers are responsible for completing all assigned tasks in a safe and timely manner at various locations throughout the production facility.
Though specific tasks may vary from company to company, they could range from cleaning and sanitizing different parts of the assembly line; cleaning floors; removing debris and garbage throughout the plant, and ensuring proper protective equipment (PPE) is always worn while working.
There is no formal post-secondary education required, but some companies require a high school diploma or equivalent, but not always. Previous experience in a production facility is considered a bonus!
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