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  • Glass Technologist

Glass Technologist

Introduction

Glass technologists carry out work related to the science and technology of glass making. Many technologists are laboratory-based and work in research and development. Some technologists work in production and quality control.

Also known as

  • Materials Technologist, Glass

Work Activities

As a Glass Technologist, you will work in the specialist branch of materials science that uses glass materials to make glass and glass products. You use your knowledge to improve the quality of the glass produced.

Most Glass Technologists are laboratory-based and work in research and development. You carry out research projects to try to develop new materials, by mixing glass with other agents.

You also find new uses for glass materials, such as the use of special glass to make communication fibres or to deal with toxic and nuclear waste disposal.

Some Glass Technologists work in production management or quality control. This would involve things like identifying defects, such as bubbles in the glass.

You also use your knowledge to work in the technical sales and marketing of glass products.

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 Glass Technologist, you'll need to:

  • communicate well with colleagues in meetings and through written reports
  • be willing to get involved in the practical side of making glass
  • be well organised
  • have problem-solving skills
  • be a careful, patient and accurate worker
  • IT skills
  • maths skills

This job might not be suitable for people who have skin conditions, such as eczema, or breathing complaints, such as asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £30,500 - £34,000
  • With experience: £37,000 - £45,500
  • Senior Glass Technologists earn £49,500 - £54,000

Hours of work

Glass Technologists usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Occasional late finishes may be required, and shift work is common in production work.

Where could I work?

Employers are ceramics and glass manufacturers and employers in other industries, such as electronics and telecommunications.

Opportunities for Glass Technologists occur with glass processors in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

An Intermediate or Advanced Level 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.

You may need a degree to enter this career. Courses in materials technology and related subjects are useful for people wanting to become Glass Technologists. Relevant courses are available at various universities and colleges of higher education throughout the UK.

Degrees related to physics or chemistry are also acceptable as a route into this career.

There are a small number of relevant HNDs and foundation degrees available in subjects related to physics or chemistry.

It is sometimes possible to enter this career after A levels or equivalent qualifications.

Training

Training will usually be on-the-job where you will be supervised by an experienced Glass Technologist.

After your degree, some Glass Technologists go on to study at postgraduate level. There are various relevant courses available throughout the UK. Course titles to look for include glass, and ceramics and glass.

Work Experience

Previous experience working as a Materials Technician or a Glassmaker would be really useful for this career.

Progression

Progression will often be to positions with greater responsibility and more supervisory duties. From there, people could move into managerial roles.

Qualifications

To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.

For entry to a relevant degree, the usual requirement is:

  • 2/3 A levels where useful subjects include maths, chemistry and physics
  • an A level in a design and technology subject might also be useful
  • GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
  • a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths

Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:

  • BTEC level 3 qualifications
  • the International Baccalaureate Diploma

However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.

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

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is now 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.

Skills/experience

Employers often value a background in practical industrial work.

Working as a materials technician or glassmaker can lead to entry into technologist level posts.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.

Much of this course focuses on management skills, but there are sections covering glass science which will be particularly useful to prospective glass technologists.

For this course, applicants with relevant work experience are welcome.

Statistics

  • 6% of people in this career work part-time.
  • 16% are self-employed.
  • 17% have flexible hours.
  • 3% work on a temporary basis.

Further Information

The Engineer

Engineering technology news

Email: customerservices@theengineer.co.uk

Website: www.theengineer.co.uk

Glass Training (GTL)

Address: 4 Bridle Stile, Mosborough, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S20 5BR

Tel: 0114 2488874

Email: info@glass-training.co.uk

Website: www.glass-training.co.uk

Proskills UK

Skills for process and manufacturing industries

Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY

Tel: 01235 833844

Email: info@proskills.co.uk

Website: www.proskills.co.uk

Prospect4u

Careers in manufacturing

Website: www.prospect4u.co.uk

GQA Qualifications

Address: Unit 1, 12 O'clock Court, Attercliffe Road, Sheffield S4 7WW

Tel: 0114 2720033

Email: info@gqaqualifications.com

Website: www.gqaqualifications.com

Heart of England Glass

Website: heartofenglandglass.co.uk

Society of Glass Technology (SGT)

Address: 9 Churchill Way, Chapeltown, Sheffield S35 2PY

Tel: 0114 2634455

Website: www.sgt.org

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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