Engineering and manufacturing are some of the world’s greatest achievements – these two fields helped power us forward in the Industrial Revolution.
It’s not just all about skyscrapers and robots. That toothbrush you used this morning was created on a production line, as was your morning bowl of cereal and the spoon you used to eat it. So, how can you get started with a career in manufacturing? Let’s find out.
Jobs in manufacturing
Safety is everything in engineering. In a manufacturing technician role, you will monitor the safety and quality of production lines. This position has a huge engineering component, as you’ll keep up with machinery maintenance and step in to fix things if there’s a breakdown.
Also called a QA (quality assurance) or a QC (quality control), a quality engineer checks that every product is perfect when it reaches the end of the production line. While it may seem simple, a quality engineer’s role involves complex documentation, regulations, standards and tests. Plus, you’ll need to create processes that your colleagues can follow to keep the whole operation running smoothly.
Process Automation Engineer
There are a lot of ways that AI and automation can benefit the manufacturing industry, and a process automation engineer is the one that pulls the strings. On a daily basis, you will look for ways to optimise industrial processes, such as creating new software systems and machinery design.
Ever wanted to work in technology and aerospace? Apply to BAE Systems’ advanced, higher or degree apprenticeships, and you could pursue a career in engineering, manufacturing and operations. As the apprenticeships range from Level 3 to Level 6, there’s a programme to suit every stage in your professional development.
Their apprenticeship window runs from November to February each year, which means they are actively recruiting at the moment – find out more and apply.
Rolls-Royce is a top provider of manufacturing apprenticeships in the UK, so you’ll need a stellar application to stand out. They have a few opportunities in this field, including the Engineering Manufacturing Technician Higher Apprenticeship and the Manufacturing Engineering Degree Apprenticeship.
JCB is a global powerhouse in machinery production. The Level 4 Manufacturing Engineering Apprenticeship lasts 36 months, and you’ll start on an excellent salary of £16,000 that will increase yearly.
We bet you were thinking of cars and machinery, not chocolate and cereal. Well, with Nestle’s Level 3 Manufacturing Apprenticeship, you’ll work in product development and food production for some of the world’s most iconic brands, like KitKat and Cheerios.
How about earning a BSc (Hons) Management and Business degree? You can, with Morrison’s three-year Manufacturing Degree Apprenticeship. Learn how the retail world moves your food from field to plate and all the processes and technologies that make this a reality.
During the Jaguar Land Rover Level 3 apprenticeship, you’ll earn £15,000 and work closely with the manufacturing, purchasing and supply chain departments. There are also two pathways you can choose from; manufacturing or automotive.
AstraZeneca is a giant pharmaceutical company with an international footprint. You could graduate from their two-year, Level 3 Apprenticeship with a BTEC Science Manufacturing Technician qualification that will equip you to work around the world.
Almost every apprenticeship in manufacturing requires five GCSEs in grades 9 to 4, and you might also need two or three A Levels or a BTEC equivalent. Maths and science are a must, and your English grade will need to be tip-top too.
As for soft skills, attention to detail is essential – after all, everything in engineering and manufacturing is about precision. Manufacturing is one of the most innovative fields on the planet, so a keen interest in technology (like robotics or software development) will look awesome on your CV.
Specialisation is the key to a long and successful career in manufacturing. It’s not something you need to think about any time soon – in fact, you probably want to do the opposite and dip your toe in as many departments and industries as possible. For example, you can work in industries like food or beverage production, textiles, printing, precision engineering… and the list goes on. While it’s still early days in your career, it’s worth exploring different avenues and specialities to see what you might be interested in.
Build your future brick-by-brick
Right now, you’re laying the foundations for your future career in manufacturing, and an apprenticeship will get you there.
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Reckon you know what you want to do, but can’t find the perfect role? Most companies hire their apprentices in a ‘recruitment window’. This means many great jobs are only available for a short time once or twice each year.
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