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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Testers and Graders, Food and Beverage Processing (9465)

Testers and graders in this unit group test or grade ingredients and finished food, beverage or tobacco products to ensure conformance to company standards. They are employed in fruit and vegetable processing plants, dairies, flour mills, bakeries, sugar refineries, fish plants, meat plants, breweries and other food, beverage and tobacco processing plants.

Reading Help - Reading
  • May scan e-mails from other departments in the plant regularly. These messages contain procedural or scheduling information. (1)
  • May read notices from the quality control office regarding problems with machinery. (1)
  • May read instructions for particular tests. (2)
  • May read memos and letters from management about changes in policies and procedures. (2)
  • May read specification sheets to review all production requirements before releasing a product. (2)
  • May read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for specific information about new products. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • May read labels on test tubes, vials and packaging materials. (1)
  • May read safety warning signs posted in the plant. (1)
  • May read production schedules to keep track of what "lines" are running. (2)
  • May read quality control audit forms. (2)
  • May refer to computer printouts to get test results from product sampling. (2)
  • May refer to drawings of defects to assign defect codes. (2)
  • May complete forms to record the results of tests performed. (2)
  • May enter numerical information about bottling, storage or dilution of beverages onto production and inventory tables. (2)
  • May complete a taste chart, rating the taste of a product on a scale from 1 to 6. (2)
  • May interpret test results which are printed out as a table or graph. In order to be acceptable, test results must fall within specific specifications. (3)
  • May plot product weight information on a graph. Variations beyond the norm indicate that equipment needs to be adjusted. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write notes to themselves to remember tasks to be completed. (1)
  • Write notes to co-workers about delivery errors or a shortage of products to test or grade. (1)
  • Write brief reports of product tests and descriptions of products that cannot be used. (1)
  • Write memos and faxes to supervisors detailing the results of testing. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May calculate the production cost associated with a special packaging request, such as "six-packs" with a double layer of shrink wrap. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Weigh cans or packages of products. (1)
  • Measure products to ensure they are the right size to feed into packaging machines. (1)
Data Analysis Math
  • Calculate the average rating obtained from taste tests conducted over a month's period. (2)
  • May record testing-results from a number of samples and check the standard deviation to see if the results are within an acceptable range. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the quantity of damaged material on a palette. (1)
  • Estimate the amount of time it will take to run a series of tests. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Listen to pages coming over the plant intercom in order to respond to requests to diagnose problems on the plant floor. (1)
  • Communicate with scale operators about the weight of materials. (1)
  • Contact suppliers to provide feedback regarding new materials or machines. (1)
  • Communicate with truck drivers about receiving or sending shipments. (1)
  • Talk to fellow testers or graders to discuss test results or defects. (2)
  • Interact with quality control supervisors to discuss product specifications. (2)
  • Talk with production crews to explain corrections on batches. (2)
  • May communicate with quality control analysts, supervisors and co-workers at a tasting session to explore why they assigned certain ratings. (2)
  • May contact computer experts at the company's head office to discuss instrumentation problems. (2)
  • May speak with government inspectors inspecting the plant, representatives at the head office and company auditors to inform them of procedures or present them with ideas. Formalities are necessary. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find that the moisture tester is giving inconsistent or unlikely readings. They call on plant electricians to repair the testing equipment. (1)
  • May find that there is insufficient refrigerator space for storing the products which have been graded. They contact the shipping department to hasten the expedition of products. (1)
  • May find that there is not enough room in brewing tanks to add ingredients needed for a correction. They split the batch in two to free up space for the additives. (1)
  • May have difficulty accessing a computer program required for testing. They check connections, search in computer manuals, and finally, consult technicians if they are unable to solve the problem themselves. (2)
  • May discover that a batch of a product is off-flavour. They conduct tests and make recommendations, such as adjusting the amount of yeast in a beverage mix. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide how to organize and classify materials in the refrigerators. (1)
  • Decide whether to reject defective products or whether to put them on hold pending supplier inspection. (2)
  • Decide on the grade to assign to a product, based on a number of variables. (2)
  • Decide whether to shut down a production line if quality specifications, in regard to temperature or weight, are not being met. (3)
  • Decide the order in which product labels should be run and when to interrupt a run to substitute a rush order. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

The tasks of testers and graders, food and beverage processing, are repetitive for the most part. A small amount of testers' time is spent accommodating requests for special tests. Their pace of work is determined by daily deliveries and the volume of production coming from the lines. Even though the schedule runs smoothly most of the time, testers and graders must be ready for occasional emergency situations such as rush runs or recalls of certain products. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember defects found on the previous day to determine if the problems causing the defects are temporary or persistent.
  • Remember how specific computer problems were solved in the past.
  • Remember procedures for rare tests and memorize company codes for defects.
Finding Information
  • Refer to lists and diagrams of common defects. (1)
  • Consult with foremen, machine operators or packers to learn details of production runs. (2)
  • Refer to specification sheets and quality control manuals to verify standards set for products. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may open and close computer operated valves. (1)
  • They may enter test results in tables. (2)
  • They may communicate by e-mail with analysts in other locations of the company. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Testers and graders, food and beverage processing, mainly work independently, co-ordinating their activities with a variety of employees such as production-line operators and packers. They may work with a partner to solve specific problems. They may work in a team, for example, one pulling a carton from a machine, another inspecting the packaging and a third inspecting the contents. The workers in the team change roles periodically.

Continuous Learning

Most of the training received by testers and graders, food and beverage processing, occurs at the work site. They learn from manuals and from occasional courses. Grading specifications are learned on the job.

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