Less than 10% of young people consider a manufacturing career

Posted on 19 Aug 2013
Nick Clegg with Cartwright apprentices, the Government aiming to produce an additional 100,000 engineering technicians by 2018

A study from food and drink manufacturer Mondelēz International has found only 8% of 16-18 year olds would consider a job in manufacturing.

The study surveyed 1,600 young people across the UK showing the majority prefer to work in service-based industries.

Desk jobs were highly favoured with 76% believing office roles were better paid and 84% thinking a desk job is more glamorous. A 73% majority also said a desk job would be more likely to impress their parents than a job in manufacturing.

Two-thirds feel there are only a few jobs available in manufacturing, with 45% acknowledging they know little about the industry.

A quarter of those who were considering a career in manufacturing thought they had the skills to enter the industry but were not given enough guidance from schools.

Diane Tomlinson, HR director UK & Ireland at Mondelēz International, says young people need more education on working life in manufacturing.

“We know that that those who work in the industry find it an enormously fulfilling and stimulating career. Manufacturing represents a big part of the UK’s economy and opportunities are rife for young people to begin their careers in what is an exciting and innovative industry.

“With youth unemployment on the rise, we need to be encouraging more people to look past these out-dated stereotypes and educate them about what a job in manufacturing now entails.”

The food and drinks company run work programmes at their Birmingham and Sheffield factories and have worked with the Food And Drink Federation to help create the UK’s first accredited engineering degree at Masters level dedicated entirely to food and drink manufacturing.

Despite manufacturing being the third largest sector in the UK economy only 21% of respondents believed it was a strong and resilient industry.

The Government wants to change this trend and increase the number of young people in manufacturing having announced a multi-million pound initiative in July aimed at creating a further 100,000 engineering technicians by 2018. The scheme looks to give participants structured on-the-job experience built upon a recognised academic qualification, the EngTech.

Alex Fleming, an engineering apprentice in his 4th year for Bournville, explains the fulfillment he gets from the challenge of working in manufacturing.

“One of my favourite things about this job is that it always keeps me challenged and every day is different, which means work is never dull, and I have really developed my broader skills and understanding of engineering.

“I get a lot of satisfaction from working out how to fix a problem I haven’t come across before, which is common in a manufacturing environment.”