Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators operate machines to manufacture and finish plastic and rubber products.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary.

Tasks

  • operating controls to regulate temperature, pressure, speed and flow of operation
  • measuring and loading materials, items and ingredients for mixing into machines and feeding mechanisms
  • monitoring operation, regulating material supply and adding chemicals and colorants to mixture
  • threading uncoated wire and cable through plastic coating machines, around take-up reels and through dies and cooling chambers
  • laying casings, beads, ply and rubber sheets on moulds
  • operating rollers to remove air
  • operating vulcaniser presses and controlling curing
  • examining output for defects and conformity to specifications
  • performing minor repairs and maintaining production records

Job Titles

  • Plastic Cablemaking Machine Operator
  • Plastic Compounding and Reclamation Machine Operator
  • Plastics Fabricator or Welder
  • Plastics Production Machine Operator (General)
  • Reinforced Plastic and Composite Production Worker
  • Rubber Production Machine Operator
  • Other Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators
  • Plastic Cablemaking Machine Operator

    Operates extruding machines to encase wire, cord, cable and optic fibre in plastic or rubber.

    Specialisations: Insulation Extruder Operator, Optic Fibre Drawer, Wire Drawer (Plastics)

  • Plastic Compounding and Reclamation Machine Operator

    Operates mixing and grinding machines to prepare plastic powders and liquid blends, and recycle waste plastic materials from factory operations.

    Specialisations: Pelletising Extruder Operator, Powder Hand (Plastics), Shredder/Granulator Operator

  • Plastics Fabricator or Welder

    Operates machines to measure, cut, shape, fit and assemble plastics materials to produce plastic products.

    Specialisations: Acrylic Fabricator, Vinyl Welder and Fabricator

  • Plastics Production Machine Operator (General)

    Operates extruding, injection moulding and blow moulding machines to produce finished plastic products.

    Specialisations: Blow Moulding Machine Operator, Extruding Machine Operator (Plastics), Injection Moulding Machine Operator (Plastics), Lamination Machine Operator, Plastic Production Machine Setter, Rotational Moulding Operator (Plastics)

  • Reinforced Plastic and Composite Production Worker

    Operates machines to apply gelcoat, colouring and fibre reinforced plastic to moulds to produce fibreglass and laminated products.

    Specialisations: Fibreglass Gun Hand, Fibreglass Laminator, Resin Transfer Moulding Machine Operator

  • Rubber Production Machine Operator

    Operates machines to manufacture rubber products such as tyres.

    Specialisations: Rubber Belt Splicer, Rubber Compounder, Rubber Extrusion Machine Operator, Rubber Knitting and Reinforcing Machine Operator, Rubber Moulding Machine Operator, Rubber Roller Grinder Operator, Tyre Builder, Tyre Retreader

  • Other Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators

    Includes Thermoforming Machine Operator

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,069 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    decline
  • Skill Level

    Certificate II or III
  • Employment Size

    9000
  • Unemployment

    above average
  • Male Share

    92.3%
  • Female Share

    7.7%
  • Full-Time Share

    95.5%

Find Vacancies

This is a small occupation employing 9000 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has fallen slightly.
A fall in the number of jobs is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create up to 5,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Manufacturing; Mining; and Construction.
  • Almost all work full-time. Full-time workers, on average, work 37.4 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,069 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 45 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • More than 9 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was above average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200510600
200611800
200714400
200810700
20097600
20109600
201112800
201210500
20139800
20149800
20159000
20208100

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsPlastics and Rubber Production Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10691230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryPlastics and Rubber Production Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-time95.568.4
Part-time4.531.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)37.440

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Manufacturing77.2
Mining8.8
Construction4.1
Other Services3.9
Other Industries6

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StatePlastics and Rubber Production Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW23.831.8
VIC27.225.5
QLD16.219.8
SA9.66.8
WA19.411.2
TAS1.72
NT2.11.1
ACT01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketPlastics and Rubber Production Machine OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-193.8-5.45.4
20-245-9.99.9
25-3416.9-23.423.4
35-4425-21.721.7
45-5429.3-21.121.1
55-5914.1-8.78.7
60-644.8-5.95.9
65 and Over1.1-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryPlastics and Rubber Production Machine OperatorsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males92.3Males53.6
Females7.7Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

A Certificate II or III, or at least 1 year of relevant experience, is usually needed to work in this job. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is necessary.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Plastics and Rubber Production Machine Operators who are hardworking, can work well with others and are reliable.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Production and Processing

    83% Important

    Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.

  2. Administration and Management

    61% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

  3. Public Safety and Security

    60% Important

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  4. Mathematics

    54% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. English Language

    50% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Handling and Moving Objects

    95% Important

    Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

  2. Performing General Physical Activities

    95% Important

    Doing things that use of your arms and legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

  3. Controlling Machines and Processes

    94% Important

    Operate machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).

  4. Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events

    85% Important

    Comparing objects, actions, or events, looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  5. Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings

    83% Important

    Checking objects, actions, or events, keeping an eye out for problems.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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