Quality Engineer

Introduction

As a Quality Engineer, you will be responsible for making sure that all the manufacturing processes in your company are working exactly as they should.

Also known as

  • Quality Inspector
  • Project Quality Engineer

Work Activities

As a Quality Engineer, you will be responsible for making sure that all the manufacturing processes in your company are working exactly as they should.

It will be up to you to check the finished product, and ensure that it is of the quality you and your customers expect. If there is a problem, you will need to identify it, and then suggest ways of solving it. You will also need to identify ways of improving the manufacturing systems and processes, making them more economical, faster and effective.

As well as a good understanding of engineering and manufacturing processes, you will also need to be a great communicator. You will be meeting and presenting your product to customers, dealing with their complaints and taking on board their suggestions. If your customers aren't happy with the quality of your product you must let them know how this problem will be solved, and keep them happy.

Your other duties as a Quality Engineer could also include:

  • contacting external suppliers
  • managing your stock levels
  • writing technical reports
  • handling staff training
  • software and hardware development

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a Quality Engineer, you need:

  • IT skills, including programming - particularly in manufacturing systems software
  • network design skills and knowledge of engineering systems
  • system testing skills
  • to be willing to keep up to date with advances in technology in this fast-changing area
  • the ability to work to strict deadlines

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting: £30,000 - £33,000
  • With experience: £35,500 - £39,500
  • Senior Quality Engineers earn £44,000 - £47,000

Hours of work

You will most likely work around 35-40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Occasional late finishes and weekend work may be required.

Where could I work?

Employers include manufacturing firms in the following industries:

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • IT
  • electrical
  • food and drink

Opportunities occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

This career could include working for an agency.

Where are vacancies advertised?

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

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

www.greenjobs.co.uk/browse-jobs/quality-assurance/

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

Normally, employers will expect you to have a HND, HNC or degree in order to enter this career. However, if you are thinking about leaving school after finishing your A levels, you could get a lower level job in an engineering environment and train on-the-job. You might be able to get onto a Higher Level or Degree Apprenticeship in a relevant area.

Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Then, once you have gained relevant industry skills and experience, you might be able to apply for Quality Engineer positions.

Or you could choose to go onto university, to study a relevant degree or HND, HNC (these are also available to study at Further Education Colleges). You will learn some of the skills, techniques and technologies, that employers need.

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

Progression

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

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

Work Experience

Previous experience working in an aerospace, automotive or electrical environment would be really useful for this career.

Qualifications

To enter a relevant degree course, the usual requirements are:

  • 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
  • English, maths and a science subject are usually required at GCSE at grade C/4 or above

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

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

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.

Skills/experience

Many people enter this career after gaining relevant skills, and perhaps qualifications, in a related area such as:

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • electrical

Industry experience is very highly valued by employers

Funding

Funding for postgraduate courses is available through universities from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Further Information

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

Tomorrow's Engineers

Publisher: EngineeringUK and Royal Academy of Engineering

Email: contactus@tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Website: www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB)

Address: Blue Court, Church Lane, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8JP

Tel: 01923 260000

Email: ecitb@ecitb.org.uk

Website: careers.ecitb.org.uk

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

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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