Manufacturing and technology

The purpose of manufacturing is to make things – from biscuits and textiles to electronics and high-tech machinery. It also covers researching and developing new products, as well as services such as purchasing.

The sector is using more digital technology like artificial intellegence, automation and robotics. The need to make sustainable and low carbon products (including electricity) means this is a really important sector.

Most people could find a job in manufacturing and technology that they would enjoy and be good at.

The sector relies on technologies such as robotics and lasers, and so needs skilled workers with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) qualifications. It also relies on people working on production lines, in quality control, buying raw materials and selling the end product.

Greater Manchester is famous for the invention on the new material, Graphene and specialises in new ways of making chemicals, textiles, 'green' or clean energy, food and drink.

Key employers in Greater Manchester:

  • Hitachi
  • Siemens
  • Unilever
  • P&G
  • Bakkavor
  • McBride
  • PZ Cussons
  • Kelloggs
  • Heinz
  • McVities

Example jobs available in this sector

Job Description

Research and development (R&D) managers lead teams of scientists and engineers to create new products and improve existing ones.


Salary Range

£25,000 - £65,000.

Working environment

University, laboratory or factory.

Hours

37-39 a week, with possible evening and weekend work and travel.

Opportunities

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, and make sure they are safe to consume.


Salary Range

£20,000 - £45,000.

Working environment

Laboratory or research facility.

Hours

40-42 a week, with possible evening and shift work.

Opportunities

You could work for a range of organisations including food manufacturers and supermarkets, government and university, research establishments, and local authorities.

Job Description

Aerospace engineering technicians design, build, test and repair civil and military aircraft.


Salary Range

£20,000 - £35,000.

Working environment

Aircraft hangar, aircraft, factory, office or laboratory.

Hours

40-42 a week, with possible evening and shift work.

Opportunities

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.


Salary Range

£15,000 - £35,000

Working environment

Construction site, quarry. At height.

Hours

50 – 52 hours a week, with possible evening and weekend work, sometimes away from home.

Opportunities

You could progress to site manager and look after 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. They programme CNC machines with data from technical drawings and work out the best way to carry out machining tasks.


Salary Range

£15,000 - £30,000.

Working environment

Factory.

Hours

42- 44 a week, with possible evening, weekend and shift work.

Opportunities

You could progress to a supervisory role, move into quality inspection or become an engineering technician.

Future jobs

This sector is a big user of new technology, so companies need staff who are flexible and quick to learn. Analytical and problem-solving skills are highly valued.

Almost three quarters of the future jobs in this sector will be at Level 4+ (beyond A-levels). However, food production in the UK is expected to grow and production line jobs need lower level qualifications, but do need maths and a high attention to detail.

This sector is developing all the time. There are already opportunities to retrain as new technologies are developed, for example, learning how to fit new electric vehicle charging stations.

Did you know? The sector needs people with specialised skills, such as accounting, sales and digital skills.

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