What they do
Clay, concrete, glass or stone machine operators control the machines and other equipment used to make a range of clay, concrete, glass and other mineral products. A wide range of machinery and equipment is used in this field, which varies depending on the specific product being manufactured. Machine operators may be responsible for activities such as crushing, batching, mixing, moulding, kiln operation and/or packing. These workers prepare raw ingredients and set up machinery at the start of the process. During operation they check gauges and computer displays to monitor the process. They may also play a role in quality control, checking and testing finished products to ensure they meet manufacturing specifications, as well as discarding damaged or faulty products.
Clay, concrete, glass or stone machine operators work in factories, workshops and other manufacturing plants. These environments are often dusty and noisy, and can be hot or damp. Heavy lifting may be required, though in most cases equipment such as forklifts and trolleys are used. Hours of work may vary, depending on the place of employment and type of product being manufactured. Some factories operate seven days a week, requiring machine operators to do shift work, as well as working nights and weekends.
Tools and technologies
The equipment used by clay, concrete, glass or stone machine operators can vary, depending on the specific product being manufactured. Machinery may be used to crush and mix raw materials, to shape or mould products, to fire, bake, glaze and/or decorate products, and to package finished products. These workers may also use lifting and carrying equipment, such as forklifts and trolleys. They may also need to wear safety gear including earmuffs, safety glasses, hardhats, dust masks, overalls and steel-capped boots.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a clay, concrete, glass or stone machine operator without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in process manufacturing or manufactured mineral products.
The Certificate III in Process Manufacturing is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.
You can also undertake a traineeship in process manufacturing (level 3) or process manufactured mineral products (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take between 12 and 24 months to complete. The process manufactured mineral products (level 2) traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.