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A Packaging 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 conforms 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 and packaging process. One example is hygiene; pharmaceutical manufacturers must maintain clean manufacturing and packaging areas and must avoid cross-contamination between drugs to ensure the safety and effectiveness of their products. All manufacturing and packaging processes 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 Packaging Technician will have very strong attention to detail and experience gained in a regulated manufacturing, packaging or warehouse environment. Or perhaps a graduate who has recently finished at university and looking to gain commercial GMP experience. Packaging Technicians will work within regulated Packaging and Inspection areas which are very fast paced. Similar roles/job titles include Manufacturing Technician, GMP Operative and Filling Technician. Closely related to Packaging Technicians are people who work in Warehouse / Stores roles, with people often gaining experience across Manufacturing, Packaging and Warehouse environments.
An entry-level Packaging Technician may earn £15k - £16.5k depending on the company and location, and hourly-paid temp packaging 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 Packaging Technicians or Senior Packaging 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.