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A Manufacturing Technician will typically work within a pharmaceutical company as part of a team that specialises in primary or secondary manufacturing operations, usually based within a “clean-room” environment that conforms to GMP standards (or ISO, in the case of medical device manufacture).
A product that is manufactured to conform to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) guidelines is considered to be of the highest possible quality and will pose no risk to consumers or the general public. GMP guidelines list general principles that must be observed during the manufacturing process. One example is hygiene; pharmaceutical manufacturering technicians must maintain a clean manufacturing area and must avoid cross-contamination between drugs to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their products. All manufacturing processes to be followed by a manufacturing technician must be clearly defined, controlled and documented.
GMP also extends to the logistics and distribution functions, where it often blurs with GDP (Good Distribution Practice) to ensure that the distribution of products minimises any safety risks and that clear procedures are in place to investigate product complaints and to handle recalls.
A Manufacturing Technician will often be involved in production planning, organising and scheduling, as well as using a range of equipment that needs to be maintained, cleaned and validated regularly in order to maximise production efficiency and avoid contamination.
Similar roles/job titles include Production Technician, GMP Operative, filling Technician and Packaging Technician. Closely related to Manufacturing Technicians are people who work in Warehouse / Stores roles, with people often gaining experience across Manufacturing, Packaging and Warehouse environments.
Skills and Experience required to become a Manufacturing Technician
Typical skills and experience required will depend on the specific job, but might include:-
- Good standard of English and Maths
- Previous experience in a production environment
- Previous experience in a GMP / ISO regulated setting
- Meticulous attention to detail
- Computer literate
- Flexible, proactive approach
- Initiative and self-motivation
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to work to targets and deadlines
An entry-level Manufacturing Technician may earn £15k - £18k depending on the company and location, and hourly-paid temp roles are commonplace in this sector. Manufacturing, Packaging and Warehouse Operations roles can often be on a shift basis, in which case typical shift allowances are 10-15% for alternating “double day” shifts, and 22-35% for shift patterns that include night shifts. Once you have more experience, basic salaries for Advanced MAnufacturing Technicians or Senior Manufacturing Technicians will increase to £20k - £22k, with further progression beyond this for people who get involved in production planning, team leadership, training, stock control, and conducting quality investigations in support of a QA (Quality Assurance) function.