Production Assistant
Gibsons Food


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Carol Turnstall is a Production Assistant at Gibsons Foods making sandwiches and wraps. Her family has always come first, and over the years she has had jobs in shops and factories to support them. "I left school and I had to help my Mum and Dad and my brothers and sisters so I just went into whatever came along."

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More information about production and process engineers

Check out 3 videos about this career

average salary
The UK average salary is £27,011
average weekly hours
There are 39 hours in the average working week
24%  female  76%  male
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment


Production and process engineers advise on and direct technical aspects of production programmes to ensure cost-effectiveness and efficiency. This unit group incorporates: planning and quality control engineers who plan production schedules, work sequences, and manufacturing and processing procedures to ensure accuracy, quality and reliability; and chemical engineers who undertake research on commercial scale chemical processes and processed products, design and provide specifications and direct the construction, operation, maintenance and repair of chemical plants and control systems.


Production and process engineers usually possess an accredited university degree. After qualifying, periods of appropriate training and experience are required before membership of a chartered engineering institution. Incorporated engineers possess an accredited university degree, BTEC/SQA award or an apprenticeship leading to an NVQ/SVQ at Level 4. All routes are followed by periods of appropriate training and relevant experience.


  • Studies existing and alternative production methods, regarding work flow, plant layout, types of machinery and cost
  • Recommends optimum equipment and layout and prepares drawings and specifications
  • Devises and implements production control methods to monitor operational efficiency
  • Investigates and eliminates potential hazards and bottlenecks in production
  • Advises management on and ensures effective implementation of new production methods, techniques and equipment
  • Liaises with materials buying, storing and controlling departments to ensure a steady flow of supplies
  • Undertakes research and develops processes to achieve physical and/or chemical change for oil, pharmaceutical, synthetic, plastic, food and other products
  • Designs, controls and constructs process plants to manufacture products.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries
for this job
Computer programming, etc7,486
Head offices, etc3,642
Architectural & related3,005
Specialised construction 2,626
Retail trade2,150
Public admin. & defence1,958
Wholesale trade1,706
Legal & accounting 1,586
Health 1,491
Employment status

Where to go next

Sector information for food and drink manufacturing and processingSector Skills Council for Food and Drink Manufacturing

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Matt R

Carol T My name’s Carol T, I’m a production assistant, I work at Gibson’s hot bread kitchens making sandwiches, wraps. Well, every day I can do different things, it depends on how you feel, what you’re capable of doing. I mean, one day I can come down and I can put the rolls through the butter machine. The next day I can come in, like today I’ve been doing the mayo or I can stand and spread the pallet knife with tuna, egg or whatever. So, you can move about and do what you want. I like it because it’s friendly, you work alongside people that you’ve known for years and you can talk while you’re working, there’s no, you know, interference, really. As long as you know what you’re doing. When I was at school I used to like biology and cooking and I was in the St John’s Ambulance Brigade. I wanted to be a nurse or something to do with cooking when I was at school. But obviously I was the eldest of five kids, times were hard 40 odd years, so many years ago. I happened to be the eldest, I left school and I had to help me Mum and Dad and my brothers and sisters so I just went into whatever came along. When I was 15 actually I left school at 15. It was sort of, you haven’t got the grades, there was no sort of pushing GCSEs, anything like that unless you’re in the top group at school. So, it was sort of a case of my Mum says, “Well, you’re going to have to get, we can’t afford to send you away to college or blah, blah, whatever it is you happen to do,” so I just got a job in a shop. I’ve done shops and factory work and then I had the children so that went by the wind. There’s not much opportunity 40 odd years ago for young girls like there is now. I wasn’t pushed hard enough at school. I was never any good at English, I’m terrible at spelling but, you know, them days women were not as free as they are now. You’re expected to leave school, get married, have kids and that was it. As I said, I probably would’ve liked to have gone into nursing. That was my favourite, helping people and doing things like that but it wasn’t to be. When I was at home I had children, I used to do little jobs cleaning. I used to look after the little lad next door who’s a Down’s Syndrome boy. I used to look after him for a couple of hours in the morning and in the evening for me friend and basically I had the children, I’ve not really gone out as out to work, sort of thing. I wish I had but. My outlook to life is just get on with it at this time and my stage of my life. I’m looking forward to retiring, not yet, a few more years down the line. That’s all I can think about, really, me and my husband retiring together. The only important thing to me is my family at the end of the day. My family and what happens to them. I worry about them, as I say, even as old as they are and the further away that they are. You still worry about them. My grandkids, hope that they grow up with a sense of responsibility to do what they want to do. ENDS  

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