Get Inspired

Loading the player ...

Mechanical Engineer

Want to watch more videos?

Get Inspired

Loading the player ...

Manufacturing Engineer

Want to watch more videos?

More information on Advanced Materials and Manufacturing

More information on Advanced Materials and Manufacturing areas of work

Explore Job Trend

Share this page

Select an icon:

Spotlight on

Advanced Materials
and Manufacturing

Manufacture a new career for yourself

Advanced Materials and Manufacturing is an exciting sector in Wales, employing over 150,000 people. For example, if you have a mobile phone you’ll probably have technology that was developed right here in Wales.

Many jobs are highly skilled and well paid. You could work on drones, space innovation, maintaining jets, communications, holograms or alternative fuels and technologies.

You could work in Aerospace and Defence, Automotives, Photonics (light particles eg fibre optics, lasers), Space, Low Carbon, Maintenance Repair and Operations and Unmanned Aircraft Systems(UAS)/Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

Advanced materials are key to smart technologies and sustainable growth. They will be used to help develop products that don’t even exist yet.

150,000 people work in Manufacturing in Wales in over 5,000 companies. Most of these are Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) 
(Welsh Government, 2014)

Wales is one of the world leaders in alternative fuels and low carbon applications
(Welsh Government, 2016)

Manufacturing is the 3rd largest industry in North Wales and employs 27,000 people
(North Wales Economic Ambition Board, 2016)

Demand for Engineers in Wales will be high. 8,000 Engineers will be needed in Wales up to 2022
(Working Futures,

7% of the workforce in Wales is employed in the sector. (Welsh Government, 2015)
This is higher than the percentage for the UK as a whole.

Wales needs more...

Programmers and Software Developers, Stock Control, 
Business Sales Executives,  Production
Managers and Directors,

Metal Working Production and Maintenance, 
Electricians and Electrical Fitters, 

Financial Accounts Managers, Quality Assurance Professionals, 
Storage Managers and Directors, 
IT and Telecoms Professionals,  
Engineering Technicians,  Engineering Professionals 

Employment Hotspots



Neath Port Talbot




Rhondda Cynon Taff






















Blaenau Gwent




Vale of Glamorgan


Merthyr Tydfil


Isle of Anglesey




Source: Welsh Government, 2015

West Wales is home to the world’s largest dedicated airspace for testing civil and military RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) 
(Trade and Invest Wales, 2014)

4% of people in Advanced
Materials and Manufacturing are self employed
(Welsh Government, 2015)

Nearly 60% of people are employed in
large companies
(Welsh Government, 2015)



Meet the Employers

These are some of the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing employers in Wales:

Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd

BA Wales Plc
Aircraft Maintenance Pontyclun

Biomet UK Ltd
Surgical Implant and Instrument Manufacture, Bridgend

Ford Motor Company

Aircraft Manufacture, Broughton, Flintshire 

Control Techniques Drives Ltd
Motor Control Products Manufacture, Newtown

GE Aircraft Engineer Services Ltd

Supplier of Wafer Products to Semiconductor Industry, Cardiff


What can I earn?

Salaries can vary depending on your experience, the employer and where you live. Higher salaries can be awarded for more senior positions. Salaries also vary for self-employed workers.

Average salary for full time employees in Advanced Materials and Manufacturing is over 
£600 per week.
This is higherthan the average full time earnings in Wales
(ASHE ONS, 2016)

This sector adds more value to the economy than most other sectors.

(Annual Business Survey ONS, 2015)

Job Salary range dependent on experience (£)

£12,500 - £19,500

£12,500 - £20,000

£13,000 - £25,000

£14,000 - £24,000

£14,000 - £25,000

£15,000 - £28,000

£16,000 - £27,500

£16,500 - £31,000

£17,000 - £45,000

£18,000 - £43,000

£21,500 - £35,000

£22,500 - £38,500

£22,500 - £42,000

£24,000 - £42,000

£24,000 - £45,000

£24,000 - £48,000

£24,000 - £48,000

£24,500 - £48,000

£24,500 - £48,000

£26,000 - £45,000

£26,000 - £45,000

Source: CASCAiD, 2016


Getting in

Many jobs in Advanced Materials and Manufacturing are highly skilled such as managers, professionals and technicians. The industry needs Science, Technlogy, Engineering and Maths graduates.

Apprenticeships are a great way of getting into the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sector. You can start at an entry level or can work towards a higher level degree as part of your apprenticeship:

  • Engineering Manufacture Apprenticeship (Level 2 & 3)
  • Laboratory and Science Technicians (Level 2 & 3)
  • Composite Engineering (Level 2 & 3)
  • Metal Processing and Allied Operations (Level 2 & 3)
  • Operations and Quality Improvement (Level 3)
  • Advanced Manufacturing (Level 4)
  • Engineering Manufacture (Level 4)
  • Advanced Manufacture (Level 6)

Search for Apprenticeships Find a course

'New graduate Engineers
on average compared to £21,700  for all graduates ’
(HESA, 2013)
More engineering
graduates find
employment than new graduates in general, 74% compared to 68%
(HESA, 2014)

For more professional jobs within the sector, employers will look for a higher skill level so you might need a degree qualification.

There are plenty of HE courses you could do. Such as:

  • BEng Aerospace Engineering or Chemical Engineering or Environmental Engineering or Materials Science and Engineering
  • MEng Aerospace Engineering or Chemical Engineering or Environmental Engineering or Materials Science and Engineering
  • MSc Aerospace Engineering or Nanoscience to Nanotechnology or Materials Engineering
  • Engineering Doctorate
  • PhD Chemical Engineering or Nanotechnology

6 masters level qualifications are being developed within the industry.

Try our Career Search Find a HE course

Get networking!

Networking and word of mouth are particularly important in the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sector. Get to know other people and businesses, face-to-face and through social media.
Build your network of contacts to sell yourself and your ideas.

Network! Network! Network!

Get experience!

Get as much work experience as you can. Lack of general work experience is one of the top 3 reasons employers give for not employing someone.


24% of people working in Advanced Materials and Manufacturing have a Level 4 qualification or above. 
For example, a Higher National Certificate (HNC)

Skills in demand

High level skills are in demand in this sector. Many production jobs have been replaced by machinery or robots. The sector needs technicians, engineers and scientists who can be flexible to respond to new devleopments.

Skills needed:

  • Flexibility
  • In depth product knowledge
  • High Level ICT skills
  • Commercial and technical skills
  • Problem solving

New in the Sector...

You might be interested in applying artificial intelligence to engineering or marine renewable energy? Perhaps you would like sustainable manufacturing, products for sustainable living, or with reduced impact on the environment?

Manufacturing is always changing. Some of the new areas in the sector are:

  • Next generation microsystems–based products
  • Advanced Materials and Computational Mechanics uses computer models to understand real world materials
  • Programming and coding
  • Virtual Reality is being used to design and develop new products.
  • 3D printing is constantly moving forward and even metal parts are now being printed making a big impact on the design and manufacture of products
  • Smart Technology

You will need to be prepared to retrain in new processes.

“We need polymer chemists and textile technologists. We require a big crossover of skills, including chemical engineering and conventional process engineering.”
(Industrial Needs Survey MAeKES Project, 2014)

The Royal Academy of Engineering identified a need for more than 100,000 STEM graduates per year until 2020

In the future high value products will focus on taking advantage of new materials such as composites, nanotechnology, optoelectronics, printable electronics and silicon electronics.
(Welsh Government, 2015)

Do I need Welsh Language skills?

If you work in Wales, being able to speak and write in both Welsh and English can give you an advantage in the workplace, especially if you are working in a Welsh speaking area and need to communicate with people as part of your job.

In the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sector

of the people who work in the advanced materials and manufacturing workforce are Welsh speaking
(Census, 2011)


What about the future?

Employees in this sector need to keep their skills updated to keep up with the changes in technology.

Fastest growing Advanced Materials and Manufacturing jobs in Wales, shown in percentage of growth.

 Production Manager and Directors

 Quality and Regulatory Professionals

 Engineering Professionals

 IT and Telecommunication Professionals

 Design Occupations

 Research and Development Managers

 Science, Engineering and Productions Technicians

 Other Skilled Trades

 Elementary Process Plant Occupations

 Average overall predicted growth in Wales

Source: Working Futures 2012-2022

Back to Job TrendsBack to top

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language