Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators operate machines to manufacture paper packaging and other paper products, fibreboard stock, logs, plywood, particle board, solid laminate and similar timber 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

  • setting up printing plates, ink circulation systems, knives, creases, cutting dies, and folding and gluing machines
  • loading machines with paper and fibreboard
  • operating machines to form cardboard containers, paper plates, egg cartons, tissue paper and other paper products
  • adjusting and cleaning machines and performing minor repairs
  • securing timber into place and setting saws to produce specified sizes of plank and board to be cut
  • starting machines and feeding stock onto cutting saw, and operating automatic feed mechanisms
  • raising and lowering saws to trim boards and remove defects such as rot and splits
  • controlling lathes and slicing machines to produce veneers, and laminating veneer using glue
  • verifying dimensions of cut stock and accuracy of cuts
  • checking saws and other machines for safety, sharpness and correct functioning

Job Titles

  • Paper Products Machine Operator
  • Sawmilling Operator or Sawmiller
  • Other Wood Processing Machine Operator
  • Paper Products Machine Operator

    Operates machines to manufacture paper packaging and other products from paper and fibreboard stock.

    Specialisations: Carton Making Machinist, Embosser, Paper Bag Making Machinist

  • Sawmilling Operator or Sawmiller

    Sets up and operates machines to cut logs into planks of standard sizes.

    Specialisations: Band Saw Operator, Beam Saw Operator, Cant Gang Sawyer, Resawyer, Ripsaw Operator

  • Other Wood Processing Machine Operator

    Operates machines that strip and prepare logs, remove bark, cut logs and timber, create wood chips, and cut, glue, press, trim, sand, splice, mould and repair wooden boards of various grades, forms and combinations.

    Specialisations: Debarker Operator, Docking Saw Operator, Log Preparer, Plywood and Veneer Repairer, Sawmill Moulder Operator, Veneer Production Machine Operator

Fast Facts

  • $1,036 Weekly Pay
  • 6,300 workers Employment Size
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • Lower unemployment Unemployment
  • 90.4% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 40.2 hours Average full-time
  • 42.5 years Average age
  • 3.4% female Gender Share

The number of Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators stayed fairly stable over the past 5 years and is expected to stay fairly stable over the next 5 years:
from 6,300 in 2017 to 6,300 by 2022.
There are likely to be around 3,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created (a large number for an occupation of this size).

  • Size: This is a very small occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2017.
  • Location: Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Manufacturing; Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; and Transport, Postal and Warehousing.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn around $1,036 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (90.4%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 40.2 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 43 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 3.4% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2017 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2022.
YearNumber of Workers
20078400
200811300
20094800
20105000
20116600
20126400
20137500
20145500
20153700
20164600
20176300
20226300

Weekly Earnings

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.
EarningsPaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10361230

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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)
Manufacturing82.5
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing4.2
Transport, Postal and Warehousing3.2
Mining3.1
Other Industries7.0

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 2017, 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.
StatePaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW27.931.6
VIC34.126.2
QLD20.319.7
SA5.06.7
WA8.310.8
TAS4.42.0
NT0.01.1
ACT0.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketPaper and Wood Processing Machine OperatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-192.0-5.25.2
20-2410.0-9.99.9
25-3418.9-23.623.6
35-4425.6-21.721.7
45-5420.7-20.820.8
55-5912.0-8.88.8
60-6410.8-6.06.0
65 and Over0.0-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Pulp & Paper Manufacturing Industry and Forest and Wood Products Industry VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

Employers look for Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators who are hardworking, have good people skills and are reliable.

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Production and Processing

    81% Important

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

  2. English Language

    77% Important

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

  3. Mechanical

    68% Important

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  4. Mathematics

    59% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  5. Customer and Personal Service

    56% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-9196.00 - Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  1. Controlling Machines and Processes

    83% Important

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

  2. Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings

    82% Important

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

  3. Getting Information

    80% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material

    79% Important

    Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.

  5. Handling and Moving Objects

    78% Important

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

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 51-9196.00 - Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders.

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