Explore: Food production

Technical Manager
Gibsons Food

info Issues viewing the video?

Chris R

00:00:02 I’m Chris R, I’m technical manager and I work for Gibson’s Foods in the food industry. We’re sandwich manufacturers and my role encompasses all aspects of food safety, quality and legality within the site.

00:00:22 I’ve got to admit I preferred science subjects and as a consequence that’s when I was leaving school while I was going on to think about what I was going to do for a degree, food science was one of the first things that came to mind. I think, like anybody, when you get to sort of later school years you start thinking about what you’re going to do when you’re leaving school and I was looking about and I was thinking, “Well, you know, in terms of the food industry people are always going to want to eat. There’s always going to be a job there.” Looked like it was a job for life, you think to yourself, “I can get into that and enjoy it.”

00:01:07 I started off with Dalgeti as a quality superintendent, then became quality manager for the one site and then ultimately became an area quality manager. The actual team that we eventually built up was an excellent team to work with. In terms of production management, personnel management, engineering, wonderful team of guys. Well, actually, in 1992 went into chilled foods and going into the chilled food environment I say from bakeries and so on, it was a sort of gob smacking experience. Because you go from something where you’ve got a product, it can be stored, positively released after a relative long period of time to a very short shelf lift product. There are far more hazards involved so you need to know that you’ve got it right first time and all the time and there is that responsibility to the consumer. So, you’ve got to think to yourself there is a responsible role and it does have to be taken very, very seriously.

00:02:20 Money has to be important in any career. I mean, in terms of the money that you earn that’s how you also enjoy yourself and I think that if you’re working hard then you deserve to be able to play hard as well. Certainly over the last few years what I’ve decided to do is sort of visit as many countries as possible. And I think that those sort of things you really do need to do. You’ve got to enjoy yourself. I think the thing is that you need to be able to sort of have a good home and work balance and one thing I think I’m really quite good at is that I can have a complete separation of what goes on in work and what goes on at home and I don’t think they should overlap at all.

00:03:12 I think the thing is, particularly with this job, you will come in every day and you can guarantee that there’s something that is going to happen. You may not always enjoy it but there’s always a challenge there and if you like challenges and you like something different to happen then it’s well worth it.

00:03:29 After 30 years in the food industry my career means an awful lot to me to be perfectly honest. I like to think that it still hasn’t ended and there’s still development possible. There’s always something to learn and you can always develop yourself. ENDS


Chris R is Technical Manager at Gibsons Foods. When he was at school he liked science and he knew people were always going to want to eat, so he became a food scientist. A big change for him was changing from foods with a long shelf life to ones which had to be used within a very short space of time. “There are far more hazards involved so you need to know that you’ve got it right first time.”

More information about Food, drink and tobacco process operatives

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

72%  male 
28%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Food, drink and tobacco process operatives set, operate and attend machinery to bake, freeze, heat, crush, mix, blend and otherwise process foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco leaves.
There are no formal academic entry requirements, though some GCSEs/S grades can be an advantage. Off- and on-the-job training is available. NVQs/ SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacturing Operations are available at Levels 1, 2 and 3. NVQs/SVQs in Tobacco Processing are available at Level 2.
  • Sets, operates and attends machinery and ovens to mix, bake and otherwise prepare bread and flour confectionery products;
  • Operates machinery to crush, mix, malt, cook and ferment grains and fruits to produce beer, wines, malt liquors, vinegar, yeast and related products;
  • Attends equipment to make jam, toffee, cheese, processed cheese, margarine, syrup, ice, pasta, ice-cream, sausages, chocolate, maize starch, edible fats and dextrin;
  • Operates equipment to cool, heat, dry, roast, blanch, pasteurise, smoke, sterilise, freeze, evaporate and concentrate foodstuffs and liquids used in food processing;
  • Mixes, pulps, grinds, blends and separates foodstuffs and liquids with churning, pressing, sieving, grinding and filtering equipment;
  • Processes tobacco leaves by hand or machine to make cigarettes, cigars, pipe and other tobacco products.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Food products 65815
Wholesale trade 17143
Food & beverage services 16124
Retail trade 12638
Employment activities 2567
Beverages & tobacco 2263
Agriculture, etc 1286
Employment status

From personal careers advice to finding work, see our round-up of
useful websites to help you on your way

Explore more videos by: