Careers Service Occupations

Manufacturing & Processing

Manufacturing and Processing

About

The manufacturing and processing industry demands skills and knowledge for a variety of developmental, managerial and engineering roles.

Careers advice

Sector overview – regional and national

Industry news

The Manufacturer includes news, articles and case studies. 

The Guardian has a section on manufacturing.

Control Engineering Europe displays the latest developments. 

Process Engineering is the online version of a bi-monthly magazine.

Maintenance Engineering Process Control Automation (MEPCA) is an online journal.

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. 

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Manufacturing

Control and maintenance

There is the Institute of Measurement and Control and British Measurement and Testing Association.

Plant and production management

Quality assurance and testing

Making contacts

Making contacts is useful for success in this sector. You could start with:

  • Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
  • social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, which is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities 
  • Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.

For events in this sector, see Careers Service events or External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in EngineeringFood Science or Logistics and Supply Management.

Or see our other occupational pages for more options.

Roles

Roles vary in manufacturing and processing. Technical knowledge and understanding of processes is vital.

Production manager

Manufacturing / Process engineer

Manufacturing systems engineer

Control and instrumentation engineer

Maintenance engineer

Quality manager

Quality control inspector

Skills employers look for

Employers in this sector look for skills including:

  • excellent problem-solving, maths and IT skills
  • strong technical knowledge and understanding of the manufacturing process
  • the ability to organise, plan, prioritise and manage projects with tight deadlines
  • leadership skills and the ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams
  • excellent communication, presentation and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work under pressure

Gaining Experience

Graduate employers in the manufacturing sector look for candidates who can offer a strong set of skills, preferably with work experience, in addition to academic qualifications.

Most large engineering companies advertise summer or year-long placements early in the first semester. These are usually aimed at undergraduate students in or above their second year of study.

Work experience with smaller companies is not always advertised. You may need to contact the employer with a speculative approach.

Professional bodies and research councils can sometimes advertise opportunities. See About for a list of organisations.

Advertised opportunities

  • Gradcracker
  • Year in Industry – UK industrial placements for technology, science and engineering
  • IAESTE – traineeship exchange programme for students of technical disciplines including engineering
  • Formula Student – challenges engineering students to design and develop a racing car
  • Remap – volunteering opportunities for engineers to support development of equipment for people with disabilities

Speculative approach

Speculative applications are when you contact employers not in response to an advertised vacancy. 

They can be a useful way to approach smaller employers who don’t offer formal internship. They can also help in finding opportunities in a specialised field or specific location. 

How to find companies

You can find companies to gain experience with by:

You may also want to look at the Gaining Experience section on our Engineering page.

Other ways to gain experience

There are other ways to gain experience, other than getting a position with a company. These include:

  • entering a competition - see Scholarships, Awards and Competitions on the Engineering page
  • volunteering for charities RemapMERU and Designability (BIME) to design technology for people with disabilities 
  • other volunteering options
  • developing entrepreneurial skills - see our Work for Yourself pages for more information
  • linking your thesis or dissertation with a company project (speak to your module leader to find out if it's possible)

Finding Jobs

Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Professional bodies and research councils also advertise graduate positions. See About for a list of organisations.

There are opportunities to work overseas as an engineer. For example, the Australian Government offers a skilled-recognised graduate visa. This enables engineering graduates to gain up to 18 months of skilled work experience.

To find further global opportunities, see International Jobs.

Vacancy sites (general)

Graduates Yorkshire has graduate manufacturing vacancies in Yorkshire.

Engineering and Technology Jobs includes design and manufacturing engineering vacancies.

The Engineer Jobs offers control and maintenance engineering vacancies for the UK, Europe, USA and Canada.

Careers in Food and Drink shows production vacancies in the food and drink sector.

Specialist recruitment agencies

Matchtech are recruitment consultants with vacancies in manufacturing engineering, process engineering and quality.

SRG Engineering is a technical recruitment agency providing contract and permanent engineering jobs.

Reed: manufacturing provides manufacturing, production and quality control jobs.

Finding companies

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. 

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Use the directory resources below to research and find potential employers:

Company directories

Professional association member directories