Paper Technologist Job Profile
What is the work like?
Paper technologists work in paper mills, designing and testing equipment and processes used in the manufacture of paper, tissue and corrugated board. Working with raw materials such as recycled paper, wood pulp and, less commonly, plant-based fibres, the job involves turning them into everything from high-quality art paper to cartons and newspapers.
As a paper technologist, you would:
- coordinate trials of new products
- investigate the best way to combine raw materials, chemicals and additives for a particular product
- measure other factors which affect the manufacturing process, such as liquid temperatures and pressures
- analyse and interpret laboratory and trial production test results
- write technical reports of managers and clients
- monitor quality control to make sure products meet customer requirements, for instance correct colour and finish
- check that finished products meet industry safety standards
You would work closely with production managers and often supervise the work of other laboratory staff.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
You would normally get into this kind of work by first taking a BTEC HNC/HND in Applied Science (Chemistry), or degree in related subjects like chemistry, science or engineering.
If you are already working in paper manufacturing, for example at technician level, and you have a relevant work-based qualification at level three, such as an NVQ, you may be able to combine further work-based training with part-time study towards a higher qualification like a HND or degree.
You may have an advantage if you have some previous experience of manufacturing or laboratory work.
What further training and development can I do?
Your employer will normally put you through in-house training once you start working as a technologist. This would include gaining work experience in the different departments of the mill.
With experience and the right qualifications, you may be able to study to postgraduate level in courses such as paper science or packaging technology.
View other print, packaging and design job profiles here.