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
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
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:
Entry Routes and Training
An Advanced, Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
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 '
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brunel University offers an MSc in Advanced Manufacturing Systems, via distance learning.
Funding for postgraduate study is available through universities from some research councils, especially the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
Sponsorship for higher education study in manufacturing and production engineering is available from the larger engineering and manufacturing companies.
Information on pathways to registration as a Chartered (CEng) or Incorporated (IEng) Engineer can be found on the Engineering Council's website.
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
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
Engineering technology news
Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering
National Skills Academy for Food & Drink
Sector Skills Council for the food and drinks industry
Food and drink careers
Publisher: Venture Marketing Group
Getting into Engineering Courses
Author: James Burnett Publisher: Trotman
Address: 105 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1QL
Tel: 0141 2213181
Address: 246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
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
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Address: Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2AY
Tel: 01438 313311
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Address: Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1ET
Tel: 01793 444000
Address: Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH
Tel: 01895 274000
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844