Looking for a job that’s really hands on? The manufacturing industry could be for you…
If you’re happiest when putting things together, sticking to routines, and making sure processes are running smoothly, a career in manufacturing might tick all of your career goal boxes. And, as manufacturing covers each individual stage of the production process, roles in the industry may be more varied than you think.
Wondering how to get started? Here are five jobs in the manufacturing industry that you could be doing right now:
What they do: Ensure equipment and machinery is running smoothly at all times, whilst overseeing and planning repairs where needed. They carry out routine checks, undergo machinery maintenance, respond to breakdowns, and work together with the team to ensure all manual work is allocated appropriately. A Maintenance Engineer’s work will usually fall under the category of preventative or emergency maintenance.
What you need: A technical and mathematical mind, alongside practical skills in engineering. You’ll also need to be able to diagnose and solve problems quickly and efficiently, whilst exhibiting excellent teamwork skills. You won’t need a degree to become a Maintenance Engineer, but some employers might consider relevant BTEC or BEng qualifications a prerequisite.
What you can earn: Salaries start at around £22,000, but could rise up to £40,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who like making things work.
Our advice: If you’re struggling to break into this role with your current experience and/or qualifications, try applying for apprentice fitter or technician roles. Once you’ve gained some initial experience in the field, you’ll be able to quickly progress onto more advanced positions. You could also take on a work experience placement to quantify your skills and learn more about the industry.
What they do: Make sure all manufacturing processes and lines are running to plan, on schedule, and adhere to quality control standards. They have various responsibilities throughout the manufacturing process, and their work usually involves planning schedules and budgets, ordering materials, controlling production, and supervising other members of the team.
What you need: An ability to communicate well with all members of staff, and understand and effectively manage manufacturing processes. Problem solving and time management skills will also be necessities. A degree in any field is normally essential to become a Production Manager, although it may be possible to progress through the ranks by joining at a junior level.
What you can earn: Production Managers will usually earn around £30,000, which could rise to £60,000 if you gain the experience needed to move up to a senior position.
Perfect for: People who like to be in control.
Our advice: If your previous work experience isn’t in the manufacturing industry, don’t panic. A management role in any field could teach you the vital transferrable skills you need to manage a team and meet deadlines. This, alongside any degree, may be enough to help you secure an entry-level position.
What they do: Work on an assembly or production line to assist with manufacturing processes and operate machinery. This usually involves inputting raw materials, applying finishes, assembling and packing goods, and monitoring the production line and its equipment – being sure to report any faults to the maintenance staff. Production Workers may also assist with cleaning work areas, storing goods, and operating forklift trucks.
What you need: Aside from the ability to concentrate and remain focused on repetitive duties, you’ll also need to be able to follow directions accurately, and work fast in order to keep up with the pace of the machinery. Manual dexterity and physical strength is equally essential. There are no set qualifications needed to become a Production Worker, but previous experience in a similar role, and some core GCSEs could improve your chances.
What you can earn: Salaries start on around £12,000, which has potential to rise up to £15,000 with experience, and £20,000 if you choose to move up to a supervisory role.
Perfect for: People who like sticking to routines.
Our advice: There are many temporary opportunities on offer for this position, and taking these on could make it easier to break into a full-time role in the long-run. Additionally, experience in roles requiring similar skills (e.g. manual labour) could improve your chances of being considered, and industry specific licenses or qualifications will also work to your advantage.
Quality Control Technician
What they do: Ensure products meet national and international quality standards, by examining and/or testing them throughout each stage of production. Duties include checking to ensure all products are correctly labelled, meet the specified weight and measurement requirements, and are free of general faults. They could also test for chemical or microbiological discrepancies in food and drink, and will record and reject (or organise repair for) substandard products.
What you need: Related technical knowledge of the industry, as well as a general understanding of quality control standards. You’ll also need to be extremely organised and methodical with your work, with an excellent attention to detail. A degree isn’t essential to become a Quality Control Technician, but relevant qualifications and/or experience, are usually required.
What you can earn: A trainee Quality Control Technician will earn roughly £13,000, rising up to £25,000 when fully qualified and experienced.
Perfect for: People who are always striving for perfection.
Our advice: If you haven’t already got the essential experience needed to become a Quality Control Technician, taking on an apprenticeship will help you to learn about the manufacturing industry, and eventually branch out into a more specialist position. And, no matter what your previous background is, it’s always worth brushing up on your knowledge of British quality control standards (national and company-wide) before applying.
What they do: Transport, store, and organise stock that’s delivered to a warehouse or storeroom, to ensure it’s ready and available for further distribution. They work as a team to process and record ingoing and outgoing products and goods, operate machinery to assist with heavy loads, and use specialist systems to ensure deadlines are met and products are dispatched on time.
What you need: Excellent physical stamina and fitness, as well as the ability to work on a flexible basis. Because of the stock control aspect of the job, you’ll also need to be able to count and record goods, and complete paperwork appropriately. There are no set prerequisites to become a Warehouse Operative.
What you can earn: Starting salaries are around £12,000, and could rise to £18,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who are good with their hands.
Our advice: Although it’s not essential to have any specific qualifications to become a Warehouse Operative, taking an industry recognised warehousing course or gaining a relevant license (e.g. for a forklift, crane, or a hoist) could improve your chances of being considered, and may mean you’ll be able to qualify for more specialist roles.
Other manufacturing jobs to consider: Mechanical Engineer, Financial Controller, Assembly Technician, Forklift Driver, Sewing Machinist, Tool Maker.
Want to work in manufacturing? View all available manufacturing jobs now.