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Job Photographs

  • A man, wearing a white lab coat, is sitting at a desk, using a computer.  He is using design software.

    Using a computer-aided design (CAD) system.

  • Three men are in an office.  Two of the men are wearing white lab coats and are discussing the tool that is on the desk in front of them.

    Engineering is often about teamwork.

  • A man, wearing a white lab coat, is standing in front of a metal cage enclosing large pieces of machinery.  He is looking at a sheet of paper in a folder.

    Robots are used on many production lines. Manufacturing systems engineers design production lines to be as efficient as possible.

  • Three men are standing over a computer, in an office.  Behind them a factory floor can be seen through a glass window.

    Engineers have to monitor production lines when they are in operation. They make sure the production lines are working at optimum efficiency.

  • A man is standing next to a table in an office.  He is looking at a large sheet of paper with technical diagrams on it.  There is a tool on the table.

    Even when computers are used for designing things, it's important to be able to understand technical diagrams.

  • A man is standing in a workshop.  He is controlling a large robot arm.

    In the workshop, the engineer programs the movements of a robot.

  • Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing Engineer

Introduction

Manufacturing engineers design, develop and improve manufacturing systems, which convert raw materials into finished products. They work on the whole system, from design to finished product.

Also known as

  • Engineer, Manufacturing Systems
  • Production Engineer
  • Systems Engineer, Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing Engineering Manager
  • Manufacturing Process Engineer

Video: - Harry: Principal Manufacturing Engineer

Video: - Lloyd: Manufacturing Engineer

Work Activities

As a Manufacturing Engineer, you will create, improve and manage the systems that convert raw materials into finished products. You work on the whole production system, from design through to finished product.

Your aim is to develop systems that work at maximum efficiency and at a low cost, within an agreed timescale and budget; the high quality of products is also essential. Sometimes you need to design a new system because of problems or limitations with existing machinery or processes.

Environmental issues are a very big factor is today's manufacturing industry. Low carbon research is an exciting area to be involved in.

You may specialise in an area such as:

  • operational research
  • planning and controlling production processes
  • designing and installing IT systems

A project usually begins with a concept (a basic idea). Before any design work begins, you will work closely with other engineering Specialists to discuss ideas, problems and possible solutions.

Next, you will write a report that outlines the project's cost and time limit. The report will also list the resources needed, including people, machinery, technology and finance.

You will then design the system. You use computer-aided design (CAD) to produce a realistic computer model of the working system.

The model helps you to judge how each part of the system may react during different stages of the production process. You need a thorough knowledge of mathematics, statistics, engineering science, materials, electronics and computing.

Manufacturing Engineers may develop computer software to control and monitor processes.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Manufacturing Engineer, you need:

  • strong communication/team skills to work closely with multi-disciplinary teams, from Technicians to Company Directors
  • to be able to encourage and motivate others, and have good powers of negotiation
  • to enjoy solving problems
  • a thorough, logical and methodical approach to your work
  • to be enthusiastic about managing and taking responsibility for a project
  • good written skills to produce reports
  • good organisational skills to plan projects, including budgets and resources
  • computer skills

You might also need a knowledge of safety regulations and legal requirements.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £26,500 - £29,500
  • With experience: £31,500 - £38,500
  • Senior Manufacturing Engineers earn £41,500 - £45,500

Hours of work

Most Manufacturing Engineers work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, early starts, late finishes and weekend work may be required.

Where could I work?

Employers are firms across a wide range of manufacturing industries, in engineering, electronics, information technology, food, pharmaceuticals and textiles.

Opportunities for Manufacturing Engineers occur throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Find a Job website.

Vacancies can also be found through specialist engineering recruitment agencies, internet job boards and the websites of professional engineering bodies.

GreenJobs is a job board aimed at people interested in green careers:

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/engineering/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

An Advanced, Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Manufacturing Engineers usually complete a relevant engineering degree, foundation degree or HND.

Manufacturing Engineers also have backgrounds in other areas of engineering, including mechanical and electronics engineering.

It's essential to check college/university websites carefully to make sure the course you choose is appropriate to the branch of engineering you want to follow.

A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Training

Some graduates join graduate training schemes, which offer structured training and learning.

Depending on their level of entry, Manufacturing Engineers can gain Chartered Engineer (CEng) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng) professional status. Both are highly regarded by employers throughout industry.

To register as a CEng or an IEng, you must join a relevant, professional engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council.

Work Experience

Previous experience within an engineering environment would be really useful for this career. Experience in mechanics or electronics will also be really helpful to get into this career.

Progression

Depending on their qualification, Manufacturing Engineers can progress by taking on more responsibility for the management of engineering projects and teams of Engineers.

Some engineers choose to become self-employed or take contract work on a freelance basis.

Qualifications

To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A*-C or 9-4, including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.

To get onto a Degree Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least 2 A levels.

To enter a degree course in manufacturing engineering, the usual academic requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels
  • GCSEs in your A level subjects at grade C/4 or above
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above
  • maths and a science or technology subject, often physics, are normally required at A level
  • English, maths and a science subject are usually required at GCSE at grade C/4 or above

Other qualifications inlcude:

  • BTEC level 2 or level 3 qualification (3D design, manufacturing engineering, or engineering would help you to stand out from the crowd)
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Engineering) could be the way in.

These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.

Distance learning

Brunel University offers an MSc in Advanced Manufacturing Systems, via distance learning.

Funding

Funding for postgraduate study is available through universities from some research councils, especially the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Sponsorship

Sponsorship for higher education study in manufacturing and production engineering is available from the larger engineering and manufacturing companies.

Training

Information on pathways to registration as a Chartered (CEng) or Incorporated (IEng) Engineer can be found on the Engineering Council's website.

Further Information

Professional institutions

Professional institutions have the following roles:

  • To support their members.
  • To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.

For more information on the institution(s) relevant to this career, check out the contacts below.

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Semta

Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies

Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT

Tel: 0845 6439001

Email: customerservices@semta.org.uk

Website: www.semta.org.uk

The Engineer

Engineering technology news

Email: customerservices@theengineer.co.uk

Website: www.theengineer.co.uk

Tomorrow's Engineers

Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering

Email: contactus@tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Website: www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

National Skills Academy for Food & Drink

Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry

Email: info@nsafd.co.uk

Website: www.improveltd.co.uk

Tasty Careers

Food and drink careers

Email: info@tastycareers.org.uk

Website: tastycareers.org.uk

Engineer Jobs

Publisher: Venture Marketing Group

Email: ner@vmgl.com

Website: www.engineerjobs.co.uk

Getting into Engineering Courses

Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman

Website: www.mpw.ac.uk/university-guides/getting-into/engineering-courses/

Scottish Engineering

Scottish enquiries

Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL

Tel: 0141 2213181

Email: consult@scottishengineering.org.uk

Website: www.scottishengineering.org.uk

Engineering Council

Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX

Tel: 020 3206 0500

Website: www.engc.org.uk

Engineering Training Council Northern Ireland (ETC NI)

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Sketrick House, Ards Business Park, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH

Tel: 028 9182 2377

Email: info@etcni.org.uk

Website: www.etcni.org.uk

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Address: Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AY

Tel: 01438 313311

Email: postmaster@theiet.org

Website: www.theiet.org

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Address: Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1ET

Tel: 01793 444000

Website: www.epsrc.ac.uk

Brunel University

Address: Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH

Tel: 01895 274000

Website: www.brunel.ac.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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