What they do
Confectioners mix, shape and cook chocolates, toffees and other sweets and lollies. They undertake many of the individual steps in the process of cooking and creating confectionery such as weighing and mixing ingredients, combining, dissolving or boiling them, and coating confectionery in chocolate. Confectioners may also ensure that production equipment is properly cleaned and maintained. They control the temperature of pressure cookers, check the consistency of products during the cooking process, and check the details of production schedules to make sure the right quantities are made.
Confectioners usually work for confectionery manufacturers in large factory environments, but may also work in smaller, boutique confectionery shops or factories. They may be required to stand for extended periods, and their work is often repetitive. As confectioners work with food, their workplace is required to be sterilised and cleaned regularly. They are required to follow strict health and safety guidelines. They usually do shift work, which may include weekends and public holidays.
Tools and technologies
Confectioners operate confectionery manufacturing and processing machinery such as boilers, baling presses, compressors, conveyor driven machinery, and storage silos, tanks and bins. They may also operate jar filling systems or wrapping machines. Confectioners may also operate industrial kitchen equipment such as ovens and cookers, deep fryers, steamers and mixers, as well as regular kitchen appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators. They may also operate laboratory equipment such as sonic and water baths, chemstations, stirrers and centrifuges. They are usually required to wear safety equipment.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a confectionery maker without formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by gaining a qualification in food processing or a related area.
Certificate II and III in Food Processing are available at 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 food processing (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete and the 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.