JOBS & CAREERS SPRING 2018 - 289
roducing goods on a large scale
has helped the UK economy
thrive since the Industrial
Revolution. By combining
people's skills with the power
and efficiency of machines, the
UK has built a varied industry
manufacturing everything from
cars, aeroplanes and computers
to pharmaceuticals and textiles
- which means there's a wealth
of opportunities in the sector.
Despite some decline since Britain was a world leader in the 19th
century, the country is still a manufacturing powerhouse. According
to the manufacturers' organisation EEF, the UK is the eighth
largest manufacturer in the world by output. Manufacturing is also
projected to deliver 40% of Britain's productivity gains over the
next decade. Despite Brexit uncertainty, the Annual Manufacturing
Report 2017, published by Hennik Research, reflects a surprisingly
resilient mood among UK manufacturers too.
An estimated 2.6 million people are employed in manufacturing
in the UK, from small-scale producers of locally sourced goods to
huge international companies supplying products for the global
market. Roles include everything from engineering and technology
to finance, sales, marketing, purchasing, supply chain management,
HR and customer services.
If you thought a career in manufacturing meant just working on
the production floor, it's time to think again. Here we take a closer
look at some of the country's main manufacturing industries.
The food and beverage
industry is the single
sector in the UK
This sector includes companies that
manufacture household gadgets,
from washing machines and vacuum cleaners to electric blankets
and kettles. Some of the biggest home appliance manufacturers,
including Dualit, Dyson, Kenwood, Morphy Richards and Russell
Hobbs, are based in the UK.
The household appliance industry is one of the main employers
of product designers. Whether devising a completely new product
or enhancing an existing one, a product designer aims to ensure the
resulting gadget is easy to use, efficient, cost-effective to produce
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and attractive in appearance. After all,
Smeg fridges and Dyson vacuum cleaners
didn't gain good reputations thanks to their
practical functions alone - they can be
things of beauty in their own right.
As well as having a logical mind, you will
need to be creative and computer-savvy
since your key tasks will include developing
ideas, making sketches and picking out
suitable materials, using computer design
software to produce detailed final drawings.
You'll also need to have completed a
relevant qualification at degree, foundation
degree or BTEC/HND level.
Food and drink manufacturers turn
produce grown by farmers into products
that retailers can sell. Whatever the state
of the economy, everybody needs to eat
and drink, which probably explains why
the food and beverage industry is the single
largest manufacturing sector in the UK
and one of the most recession-proof - no
matter what happens, we need food!
This sector accounts for 18% of the
total manufacturing sector by turnover. It
Love clothes? Then you may want to consider a career in the textiles
industry. Fashion designers are the famous names, but this sector
also involves the processing of yarns and fibres, dyeing and finishing
of threads and fabrics, and the design, manufacture and distribution
of articles such as soft furnishings and carpet, as well as the
development and production of new fibres and technical textiles.
Around 39,000 people are currently employed in the manufacture
of clothes and footwear in the UK. Types of jobs in this sector
include technical, design and production.
There aren't usually any formal entry requirements for lower-level
positions, and many junior roles pay
notoriously low wages. However,
many firms provide workplace
training, sometimes alongside
formal qualifications such as NVQs,
which will help you move up.