Manufacturing Jobs and Careers
While the technical industries may have risen to prominence in the past two decades, certain manufacturing industries continue to maintain their strength.
The Manufacturing industry is responsible for transforming a range of materials into new products. In fact, the rise of new technologies has transformed manufacturing with leading edge practices and business systems.
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Types of Careers
The diversity of manufacturing means that a wide range of careers are available, from design and planning to every aspect of business, commerce and administration.
- Computer aided design and specialist technical jobs are at the heart of manufacturing, with its foundation of research, design, development and production.
- Each industry division has specialist technical positions relating to the processes by which all products need to be tested, maintained and repaired, while quality must be assured. Positions exist for engineers, technicians, the engineering trades and skilled production workers.
- Materials need to be sourced and costs negotiated with vendors.
- The production process itself relies on machine operators, mechanics and electricians as well as staff with other specialist skills. This may involve shift work.
- Marketing positions sit alongside market research, while every area of marketing, promotion and sales is also represented.
- Products then need to be delivered to the domestic and international marketplaces and sold, so transport and logistics positions are common to every sector.
- As with all large businesses, a number of departments exist to support the rest of the business, including IT, accounting and human resources.
- Management and administration positions exist throughout every organisation.
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Manufacturing Industry Sectors
Here, we give a quick overview of some of the UK's major manufacturing sectors.
FMCG, including Food and Beverages
Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) are mainly short shelf-life products that are sold on supermarket shelves. Food and beverage products form the bulk of this retail sector, although other grocery store products are also included. Their perishable nature means they're sold at a low cost and relatively quickly, but in high quantities.
Manufactured food products include grain and cereals; oils and fats; meat and meat products; bakery foods; dairy, sugar and confectionery; fruit and vegetables; and seafood. Drinks manufacturing includes large-scale industrial mixing and soft drinks bottling, as well as cordials and syrups. Alcoholic beverages include beer and cider brewing, as well as spirits.
Due to the economic downturn, the food manufacturing industry has consolidated yet operates at the same level as before. Most employers are food product manufacturers or their parent companies, large conglomerates with many subdivisions that are frequently household names.
Textile, Leather, Clothing and Footwear
This manufacturing division produces a broad spectrum of clothing, plus household, outdoor and industrial products, from a range of fibres and materials. Manufacturing stages include processing of natural fibres (e.g. wool, leather), textile production, transforming textiles and materials into apparel, footwear and other fabric products (e.g. carpets, furnishings).
This industry faces increasing competition from overseas producers. To survive,
companies have been forced to adopt new technologies as well as develop the
strategic business skills and processes essential to survival in a global marketplace.
More information: the Textiles Institute - www.textileinstitute.org
Wood product manufacturing is inextricably linked to timber production. The process starts with log saw milling and timber dressing, with rough planks being sold to other industries for their own manufacturing. Rough timber may be manufactured into the various types of timber for sale at builders' yards and wholesalers, with dressed timber finding its way to the manufacturers of wooden products (e.g. windows, furniture).
Pulp, Paper and Converted Paper Products
This sector is concerned with manufacturing wood pulp, paper and paperboard, including paper from recycled fibres. Raw materials include wood chips, clay, lime and chemical resins. The paper pulp is sold to paper and board producers, or is manufactured into paper, paperboard or newsprint. Manufactured products include stationery, packaging, books and magazines, etc. Many pulp and paper plants run night and day, so involve shift work.
More information: Confederation of Paper Industries - www.paper.org.uk
Printing and Recorded Audio Products
Printing and reproduction isn't always considered manufacturing, but it is certainly the production of a physical product, so comes within this industry. It includes the manufacture of books and other publications, CDs and DVDs, video, software and other electronic and digital media. Major developments in the technologies used in printing have dramatically changed this industry, although 'traditional' printing methods still survive (photocopying, screen printing, etc).
More information: British Printing Industries Federation - www.britishprint.com
Machinery and Equipment
This area of manufacturing produces equipment and machines that use mechanical force to achieve particular tasks. Their production involves a range of processes and highly involved assembly operations. Products include professional and scientific equipment, including medical and surgical, electrical equipment, domestic appliances, and single purpose agricultural and construction equipment. As with all manufacturing sectors, this has had to embrace innovative and cost-efficient processes and technologies.
Vehicles and Transport Equipment
In common with machinery manufacturers, forming, welding and assembly of component parts forms the basis of transport equipment production. Components include engines, exhaust systems, instrumentation, air conditioning and security systems. Assembly line processes are used to assemble parts into finished road, rail, air and water vehicles.
This industry has also been transformed by the technological revolution, both in terms of the parts produced and the processes and equipment used to produce those parts. For example, avionics includes satellite components and telecommunications. Another influence on this sector has been awareness of the environmental impact of transport.
Furniture, Fixtures and Household Goods
This sector produces furniture and other household fittings and fixtures, such as blinds or mattresses. Materials can include textiles, wood, metal, glass and plastics. This manufacturing sector involves the interplay of production processes with design and fashion, as function is equalled in importance by form. As well as larger domestic products, smaller products are also included, such as toys, silverware or recreational products.
These products are manufactured in industrial factories or small to medium enterprises. The sheer variety of products means that creative positions are as valued as production roles.
More information: The Association for British Furniture Manufacturers - www.bfm.org.uk
Other manufacturing industries include petroleum based products (e.g. asphalt, polystyrene, various fuels); basic chemical and chemical products; polymer and rubber products.
Manufacturing Jobs Sites
- Engineering and technical recruitment in the manufacturing jobs sector: www.manufacturingjobs.co.uk
- Reed lists all types of manufacturing positions: www.reed.co.uk
- Hays is a leading worldwide agency that fills manufacturing jobs vacancies: www.hays.co.uk
- TotalJobs has 1000's of manufacturing job openings: www.totaljobs.com
- S1Jobs list manufacturing and production jobs in Scotland: www.s1jobs.com
- Foodmanjobs lists jobs within food manufacturing: jobs.foodmanufacture.co.uk