Top tips to start your career in manufacturing

Posted on 28 Jan 2019 by Jonny Williamson

Cranfield University has released a Manufacturing Careers Guide in a bid to encourage more people - young and old alike - to take up a career in manufacturing.

Career in Manufacturing - image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover
Image courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.

A career in manufacturing offers a wide variety of creative, stimulating, challenging, well paid job opportunities and career progression routes.

Yet, just 6% of young people (aged 16 to 23) are considering pursuing a career in industry.

Almost half (47%) of so-called ‘Gen Z’ say that manufacturing doesn’t appeal to them, with many displaying misconceptions around the skills that workers can develop and the dynamic positions available to them.

At the same time, less than one-in-five (19%) of UK parents would encourage their children to work in the sector. Of those who said they would encourage their child to purse a career in manufacturing, nearly of a quarter of those thinking about a son said they would (24%), compared to 14% of those who were thinking about a daughter.

Unsurprisingly, many manufacturing organisations are having difficulties around recruitment, despite roles offering highly desirable skills such as decision-making, complex problem-solving and technical skills.

Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University, Professor Rajkumar Roy, commented: “The manufacturing industry is crucial to the British economy, and for that to continue we need succession of the many essential job roles and specific skills required.

“There are many misconceptions about the industry, but it is full of cutting-edge technology, digitised practices and helping to progress the sustainability agenda.”

Cranfield’s Manufacturing Careers Guide offers more than a dozen in-depth career profiles that highlight its contributors’ journeys through different roles and technologies.

These include Carlotta Rigatti – fleet planner at Rolls-Royce, Chris Dent – head of research and technology at Lockheed Martin, and Rushabh Shah – a development engineer at Axon Automotive.

The report also offers four top tips to help start your career in manufacturing:

Contact a local manufacturer to ask for a factory tour – most are very accommodating, and you might be surprised by the range of roles available.

Don’t follow the money – choose an organisation that offers genuine training, career development and an enlightened culture, the money will follow in due course.

Work experience is a great way of understanding an industry first-hand – if your school or college cannot help, be proactive and contact a few local employers asking for an opportunity.

Make your own decision – listen to teachers, parents and friends, but by all means there are plenty of online resources available for you to make an informed career decision.