Greater Manchester is home to some of the world's biggest companies, including BAE Systems, Hitachi, Siemens, Unilever and P&G.

The manufacturing sector involves the manufacturing of a wide variety of goods – from biscuits and textiles to electronics and high-tech machinery; as well as scientific and technological research. The needs of the industry have changed significantly over recent years with many organisations now needing skilled individuals using advanced technology, such as robotics and lasers, and STEM qualifications. Work in this sector involves not just the physical making of goods but also research & development, purchasing and management.

Key Employers in GM

  • Bakkavor
  • McBride
  • PZ Cussons
  • Kelloggs
  • Heinz
  • McVities

Example jobs available in this sector

Job Description 1

Research and development (R&D) managers lead teams of scientists and engineers to create new products and improve existing ones. They undertake a number of important roles within an organisation and are responsible for research, planning, and implementing new programmes and overseeing the development of new products.

You'll also need several years' relevant experience in industry, with an understanding of research methods, data analysis and development processes. recruiting staff, assessing staff performance, coordinating the team’s work, analysing data and presenting results, making sure work meets safety standards and other relevant legislation, managing budgets, reporting to senior managers

Salary Range

£25,000 - £65,000

Working environment

- you could work at a university, in a laboratory or in a factory.


37 to 39 a week, including evenings/weekends and possibly travel


with experience in industry, you could become a senior project manager or research director. In higher education, you could become a senior research fellow or professor.

Job Description

Food scientists and food technologists develop food and drink products, making sure they are safe to consume.

Experience of working in a food science or food development environment, for example through an industrial placement, may improve your career prospects.

Salary Range

£20,000 - £45,000

Working environment

research facility or in a laboratory


39 to 41 a week, may include evenings and shift work


You may be able to do a food technologist advanced apprenticeship then move on to a food industry technical professional degree apprenticeship. You could start as a food technician or lab assistant with a food manufacturer and study for further qualifications while you work. As a food scientist, you'll: Provide accurate nutritional information for food labelling, investigate ways to keep food fresh, safe and attractive, find ways to save time and money in food making, test the safety and quality of food, blend new ingredients to invent and modify recipes, conduct experiments and produce sample products and design production processes and machinery.

Job Description

Aerospace engineering technicians design, build, test and repair civil and military aircraft. Developing component plans using computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software, investigating and testing solutions to engineering problems, building and testing prototypes, using prototypes to predict and improve the performance of aircraft systems.

b) Mechanics - building and servicing aircraft fuselage, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, like wings, engines and landing gear

c) Avionics - installing and testing electrical and electronic systems used in navigation, communications and flight control

Salary Range

£20,000 - £35,000

Working environment

You could work in an aircraft hangar, on an aircraft, in a factory, in an office or in a laboratory.


40 to 42 a week, may include evenings / weekends on shifts


With experience, you could move into supervisory, project management and higher management roles, or specialise in a particular field, like aircraft design.

Job Description

Crane drivers operate lifting machinery on construction, quarrying and mining sites, at ports and in warehouses.

physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace, to be thorough and pay attention to detail, patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations, the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools,

setting up cranes and carrying out safety checks, loading and unloading lorries, shifting loads around the site, monitoring sensors that measure wind speed, crane stability and load weights, carrying out minor repairs to machinery, reporting any problems to the crane supervisor, keeping records of the materials you’ve moved,

Salary Range

£15,000 - £35,000

Working environment

You could work on a construction site. Your working environment may be noisy and at height.


50 to 52 hours a week evenings / weekends, away from home


after further training you may be able to work as a site manager, with responsibility for the day-to-day running of a construction or quarrying site.

Job Description

Computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinists make precision parts for the engineering and manufacturing industries. Programming the CNC machine tool with data taken from technical drawings, working out the most efficient order to carry out machining tasks, choosing the right tools for each stage, setting the cutting speeds and tolerance levels, operating the machine, checking the work meets quality and technical standards, maintaining equipment.

Salary Range

£15,000 - £30,000

Working environment

You could work in a factory.


42 to 44 a week, you could work evenings / weekends and shifts


With experience and further training, you could move into a supervisory role. You could also move into quality inspection or become an engineering technician.

What to expect from this sector in the next 10 years

New technologies are often used first within this sector and as a result, companies need staff who are flexible, knowledgeable and can develop at the same pace as the market

Almost three quarters of the future jobs within this sector will be at Level 4+

Did you know? Skills needs in this sector are often linked directly to technological change, regulatory change and global competition. The sector needs a workforce that can combine specialised skills, such as accounting, with the increasing use of digital technologies.

In 2010, 9% of employees in the sector were aged over 60; this means the sector will need to replace 10,000 jobs per year up to 2035

Manchester provides companies with access to some of the best talent in manufacturing and engineering! The talent pipeline is complemented by a further 14,000 students studying engineering and other STEM subjects. By 2035, 25% of employees in the sector will need to be qualified to Level 4 and above.




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