Manufacturing is a diverse sector covering a range of trades and specialisms from automotive and aerospace to fashion and food.
Here we provide all you need to know about some of the learning opportunities on offer and potential career pathways into the sector.
Why manufacturing is important
The UK has always been a leader in invention and innovation and a lot of this comes down to our manufacturing capabilities.
Our leadership status would not be possible without people. The industry’s success thrives on the creativity of individuals bringing their ideas to reality, from sustainability in energy to new technologies to help us achieve Net Zero.
And today, manufacturing jobs are seen as highly skilled and high paid, requiring subject-matter experts to carry out the jobs.
So how do I get the skills needed to start a career in manufacturing?
Manufacturing is broad and there are many different job titles and expertise avenues for a variety of jobs. Because of this, educational requirements will vary but here are some options that can put you on the right track.
Apprenticeships are a brilliant option for people of all ages to launch and progress their careers. They include learning on the job while being paid in a huge range of exciting industries from learning entry skills to learning post graduate skills.
There are thousands of apprenticeship vacancies on offer, with more than 640 high-quality apprenticeships approved for use by employers – meaning someone could pursue a career as anything from a space engineering technician to a junior advertising creative.
To learn more about apprenticeships and what they are, you can visit: Five reasons why you should consider an apprenticeship - The Education Hub (blog.gov.uk).
T Levels are new post-GCSE technical qualifications – broadly equivalent in size to three A levels – that combine classroom study with a substantial industry placement so that students gain both the skills and workplace experience they need to progress into skilled work, further study or an apprenticeship.
Since the T Level courses were designed by leading employers, students can be sure that the skills they develop are those needed by the businesses.
There are currently 10 T Levels available across England in subjects ranging from digital and construction to health and science. This September another six T Level courses launch including three that focus on different aspects of manufacturing and engineering.
If T Levels might be your pathway into your career, there’s a handy postcode checker to see the T Levels available near you.
Higher and further education
Universities and colleges have a wide range of courses available to kickstart your career in manufacturing.
So, if University is the avenue for you, UCAS has a handy search tool to find the appropriate courses.
Institutes of Technology (IoTs) are collaborations between further education (FE) providers, universities (HE) and employers. They are designed to deliver higher technical education and help employers get the skilled workforce they need and offer local people rewarding and higher paid careers.
Many IoTs specialise in courses relating to the manufacturing sector.
If you are thinking of further education, do check out your local colleges who will have more information on the courses available for you.
There is also further advice on careers in manufacturing on the National Career Service’s website: Manufacturing | Explore careers (nationalcareers.service.gov.uk).