You don’t have to get your hands dirty, take on low-paid jobs or be a geek to have a career in manufacturing!
This section looks at some of the typical myths associated with manufacturing careers and the reality of the sector today. Are any of these your perceptions of the sector?
Myth: Manufacturing is just for boys
Reality: Although traditionally considered a male dominated industry, engineering is becoming a more popular career choice for young women. For a number of years now we’ve seen how girls excel and exceed boys in maths and science subjects at school – both of which are essential skills needed by engineers today. With a number of schemes dedicated to supporting women into engineering, there’s no reason why more young women can’t have successful careers in manufacturing. Check out the What Can I Become? section for examples of young women in manufacturing roles.
Myth: Manufacturing is dirty
Reality: Most people consider manufacturing to be a ‘dirty’ job and are often put off because they don’t want to ‘get their hands dirty’. The reality is often the complete opposite. Most engineering businesses today are so clean and hi-tech, you could eat your food off the floor (although this is not advised!). Not all manufacturing roles are on the factory floor, other more office-based roles may include research, design, HR, marketing and management.
Myth: Manufacturing is low paid
Reality: Far from it! By the age of 30 and with the appropriate qualifications and experience, you could be earning an average salary of £35,000! Check out the What Can I Become? section for examples of technical and engineering careers in manufacturing and the salary potentials of each. Manufacturing and engineering are now one of the most highly paid professions.
Myth: Only clever people do well in manufacturing
Reality: You don’t have to be a geek to have a career in manufacturing! Manufacturing is practical as well as theory based. So if you’re interested in the way things work, like being creative and ‘hands-on’, there are lots of jobs you can choose from. From design and development to welding and fabrication, there are options available for all levels of intellect. Check out the What Can I Become? section for examples of the different roles available within the manufacturing sector. To do well in manufacturing, it’s really helpful for you to choose maths, science and technology options at GCSE.
Myth: You must have a degree to do well in manufacturing
Reality: There are many different pathways to do well in manufacturing. Whilst the academic route might not be right for many, apprenticeships allow you to gain valuable experience by working for a business and having day release to study at a college – so you will be able to earn whilst you learn! Vocational courses however, are more practical than academic qualifications and although they still involve full time study, your lessons will include a mixture of practical training with some theory. Check out the career pathway information on the Career Paths page for more details of routes into engineering and how you can have the same career via different paths.
Myth: Manufacturing is boring
Reality: It is far from boring! Some of the engineers listed under the What Can I Become? section have worked on parts for nuclear submarines, produced a ladder rail for the engine of Sebastian Vettels’ Formula 1 car and visited Poland, Croatia, Germany and Taiwan for their jobs! What’s boring about that?!
Myth: You only work with your hands in manufacturing
Reality: Manufacturing is not just about production; there are a number of job roles available including: research, design, development, quality assurance and testing. So, if you’re more theoretical or creative, these may be areas in which to consider. Check out the What Can I Become? section for more options.
Myth: The manufacturing industry is dying
Reality: The Black Country is famous as the ‘workshop’ of the UK with 1 in 7 businesses in the Black Country in the high value manufacturing sector – that’s the equivalent of over 5,000 companies! These companies employ over 85,000 people with a turnover of over £3.5 billion. Companies make parts and components for cars, aircraft, oil and gas rigs, nuclear power stations, ships, submarines, railways and much more. Products made in the Black Country are sold around the world, so it’s far from dying!