If you have strong technical skills, an analytical mindset and natural problem-solving ability, a career in manufacturing and engineering could be for you.

Engineering and manufacturing is one of the UK’s broadest sectors. 5.5 million people work in engineering in the UK, accounting for 18% of all UK employment. Here in Stockport, we’re home to a range of innovative engineering and manufacturing employers supporting local and global supply chains. They’re looking to invest in talented, skilled recruits who are passionate and committed to innovating for the future.

Ascia, Field Engineer

Labour Market Information

If we believed everything we watched on TV or in movies, you’d think that nobody in the UK actually works in manufacturing anymore. Apparently, the entire industry is run by robots with astonishing efficiency!

Well, actually that’s not true. With an annual output of £192 billion, the UK remains the 9th largest manufacturing nation in the world. According to Make UK, manufacturing makes up 11% of gross value added, directly employs more than 2.6 million people, accounts for 45% of total UK exports, represents 69% of business research and development, and provides 13% of business investment.

We’re a world leader in aviation, second in the world in defence and still have a large automotive industry. We’re also a big investor in British construction, nuclear, steel and plastics – and let’s not forget chemical and pharmaceutical! While some engineering-related industries, such as mining and quarrying, are in decline, others are actively booming.

So, we do still make a lot in Britain, and Stockport is no exception. From food production companies like Allied Bakeries in Bredbury, to world-leading military bridges from WFEL in Heaton Mersey, to global semi-conductor manufacturer Nexperia in Hazel Grove – there’s plenty of ground-breaking design and engineering happening right here on our doorstep, making a career in this fast-paced sector a great choice.

Plus, it’s no secret that the manufacturing and engineering sectors are experiencing major skills shortages. This is down to a number of factors – from an ageing workforce, economic issues like Brexit, and a lack of awareness amongst young people about the careers available in the sector.

Starting Salary

£1214.00 per hour or £18,000
per annum

Typical Salary Range

£18,500 – £112,500+
per annum

Working Hours

37 to 39 hours per week, between 8am and 6pm

LMI Infographic Manufacturing

LMI Infographic from GMACS

GMACS have produced a range of helpful infographics to summarise careers in the Manufacturing sector and the current employment landscape in Greater Manchester. According to the stats, the most in-demand roles are as a Machine Operator, Production Operative, Welder and Engineering Manager and you may find yourself working for one of 6,090 manufacturing employers such as Johnson Controls, ThermoFisher, Warburtons or Stockport’s own Nexperia for example. You’ll be joining 8% of GM residents who work in this sector earning an average of £33,600 and you’ll need to demonstrate project management, teamwork and digital skills (such as enterprise resource planning or ERP).

You can view the full infographic and click on the links for more information by selecting the button below to view as a PDF.

You can view the full infographic and click on the links for more information by selecting the button below to view as a PDF.

Working in Manufacturing & Engineering

  • Aerospace
  • Applications
  • Architecture
  • Automotive
  • Building Services
  • Chemical & pharmaceutical
  • Civil
  • Commercial
  • Construction
  • Design
  • Defence
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Environmental
  • Food & drink
  • Geotechnical
  • Health & Safety
  • Hydrologic
  • Infrastructure
  • Marine
  • Mechanical
  • Nuclear
  • Petroleum, Oil & Gas
  • Plant
  • Plastics
  • Power
  • Process
  • Production
  • Rail
  • Security
  • Steel
  • Space
  • Surveying
  • Telecoms, Digital and Networking  
  • Textiles
  • Transportation
  • IT knowledge and technical competency
  • High level of numeracy skills
  • Analytical and logical mindset
  • Creative problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to manage projects and tasks independently
  • Commercial awareness
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership skills
  • Good communicator
  • 3D Printing Technician
  • Automotive Engineer
  • Chemical Plant Operator
  • CNC Machinist
  • Food Packaging Operative
  • Food Scientist
  • Glassmaker
  • Manufacturing Technician
  • Motor Mechanist
  • Packaging Technologist
  • Production Worker
  • Quality Control Assistant
  • Welder

Many roles within manufacturing and engineering do not require specific qualifications to get started. For these roles, you may simply need some GCSEs (usually including English and Maths) and will gain the skills and specialist knowledge required on-the-job, with time and experience. This may include internal training or gaining qualifications such as Manual Handling or a Fork Lift Truck license.

However, if you’ve got your heart set on a certain type of role it’s essential that you work towards gaining the right skills and qualifications that may be required. For example, if you want to become an engineer, you’ll most likely need to choose A-Levels and a relevant degree. Your subjects will include the likes of Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Further Maths, Design Technology and IT.

You may also choose to study a T-Level (a level 3 qualification equivalent to 3 A-Levels) in Design & Development for Engineering and Manufacturing; Maintenance, Installation and Repair for Engineering and Manufacturing; or Engineering, Manufacturing, Processing and Control.

These types of Level 3 qualifications are required to move onto studying a degree at university, but the specific qualifications, subjects and grades you need to get vary from place to place so be sure to check on the UCAS website first for your University of choice.

There are so many different roles, sectors and specialisms within the engineering and manufacturing sectors, that it’s understandable that there are a range of future career prospects too.

It’s safe to say that developing industry-specific skills and knowledge will set you up for a long and successful career. You can either develop in a particular field or with a chosen employer, or to diversify along the way and branch out into a related area once you know where your interests lie.

With high levels of demand from employers, growing industry development and investment, high earnings potential and plenty of variety, a career in manufacturing and engineering is a great choice.

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