Opportunities for Students
No matter where your interests lie, there are careers across research, design, product development, production, quality assurance, logistics, sales, marketing, finance and more, and they all require different skill levels. And for as long as the population needs products, there will always be a global demand and we’ll need to keep improving our technology. That means more engineers, scientists and mathematicians too.
Manufacturing is a great place to work. It’s an industry that satisfies those who enjoy doing, and it’s one of the largest sectors in Northern Ireland.
Over one fifth of people in Mid Ulster are employed in manufacturing and the sector delivers around £1.67 billion GVA (Gross Value Added – the measure of the value of goods and services in an area) to the economy.
What’s so great about the
Manufacturing and Engineering Industry?
Manufacturing & Engineering needs people like you to help transform lives and communities! As the ‘E’ in STEM, engineering is the creative, real-world application of science, technology and maths.
The Highlights Of a Career in The Manufacturing & Engineering Industry.
An Exciting Career Path
Manufacturing covers such a wide array of industries that it’s difficult for people not to find it interesting! Manufacturing spans some of the most interesting high-tech industries, such as aerospace, food technology, machine monitoring, and pharmaceuticals. Not everyone gets the opportunity to tell friends about their day-job, but when you’re working on the latest developments, people want to listen!
A Safe Working Environment
Contrary to what’s widely believed, the days of workers crammed into darkened sweat-boxes, handling dangerous chemicals and machines that would gladly rip off a limb are now, mostly, resigned to history! Things have come a long way. Robots, machine monitoring, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and automation are all employed to ensure that the workplace is a smart and safe one.
Creating Tangible Products
Manufacturing is all about producing things which go on to help people in their everyday lives. There’s very little that’s more satisfying than seeing the fruits of your labor and being able to say “I made that.” Workers in manufacturing are responsible for bringing products into stores, developing innovative new technologies and maybe even producing set pieces for blockbuster movies. If you work in a bank, you shuffled some numbers today – and those numbers got shuffled by someone else. Manufacturing produces tangible products.
A Certain Career Path
There’s more to manufacturing than fabrication and welding, although if this is your area of interest it is certainly worth pursuing as skilled roles of this nature are in huge demand. Automation has taken a lot of the dangerous, repetitive work away from the factory floor, and thus creating the need for a variety of very specialised roles.
As the baby boomers retire, there are opportunities in leadership, as well as opportunities in sales, business development, marketing, product research and development, and HR. Manufacturing can provide stability and life-long career paths.
Working at the Cutting Edge
Manufacturing has always driven innovation. 3D printing, the IIoT, drones, and robotics all fall under this sector. As manufacturers, we adopt new technologies before they become widely available on the consumer market, so we get the opportunity to use and perfect the development of these cutting-edge technologies. It’s a great reason to get up for work in the morning!
Make a Contribution
Manufacturing makes a significant contribution to home and global economies, as well as putting food on the table at a local level. With a substantial contribution to GDP, manufacturing helps raise the standard of living for workers and consumers, while lubricating the economy. We’re also producing products that make lives easier, so not only is the contribution financial, but we’re adding to the quality of life for millions of consumers. That’s certainly something to be proud of.
There’s A Need
There’s a huge skills gap in manufacturing, caused in part by the retirement of a generation of skilled workers. This creates a huge opportunity for training, and for those hoping to develop life-long skills. The world of work has become transient as our economies have shifted to a service-based focus. The “job for life” in these industries has become a thing of the past. However manufacturing is here to stay and needs skilled workers so opportunities for roles across a range of skill sets are very abundant.
Diverse Range of Roles Available
With the massive demand for skilled people, there’s a huge array of career progression opportunities in manufacturing. The image of repetitive production lines and grubby overalls is not the new norm. Of course, those roles are still available for those who want them, but technology has stepped in, leaving wider possibilities for skilled workers. It’s not all shop-floor working; there are opportunities in prototyping, product development, as well as the many office and marketing roles.
Manufacturing offers competitive pay and benefit packages. There’s a higher percentage of workers in manufacturing with retirement plans, in comparison with other private sector industries. And there’s often a good range of health care benefits available, and on a more generous basis than in other industries.
Pay, on average, is higher for equivalent roles in other industries.
Developing New Skills
As manufacturing adapts to new technologies, so do the roles. There’s a distinct push for people with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills, as machines require programming and new software needs development.
Companies are struggling to recruit people with these skills; partly because it’s not widely understood that these skills are required. But for highly qualified, technical specialists, manufacturing offers excellent potential for a great career.
Why choose a career in the Manufacturing & Engineering Industry?
The manufacturing engineering industry is made up of a broad range of careers, which all require different skills and interests. It looks set to grow quickly as global demand for our products increases. To meet future challenges of environment and climate change, we’ll be using more innovative and automated technologies, which will drive demand for engineers, scientists and mathematicians. The sector will need more and more highly skilled individuals to help meet this demand.
We’re very fortunate that such an exciting range of manufacturing & engineering courses are available from our local Colleges, Universities and Training Providers in N.Ireland. At MEGA, most of our apprenticeship courses are provided in connection with South West College, Dungannon, Northern Regional College & Strabane Training Services.
We offer Training Courses for Joinery, Electronical Technology and a wide range of apprenticeships.
Download the PDFs below for more information.
UU Engineering Courses
QUB Engineering Courses
Advanced Manufacturing Careers
The term manufacturing often brings to mind assembly lines and mass production of anything from vehicles to computers. However there is much more to the field of manufacturing, especially in advanced manufacturing careers.
There are many options for job-seekers, and careers in this field are available to both school leavers open to on-the-job training and college graduates who are ready to apply their knowledge of technology to modern machinery, products, and designs. Read on to learn about some surprising advanced manufacturing careers.
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING ENGINEER
Increasing production to become more profitable is the goal of every manufacturer and companies rely upon an advanced manufacturing engineer to achieve that goal.
When buying school supplies, clothing, or even a new car, people don’t often think about how those things were designed, the machines used to manufacture them, or how much it cost to produce them.
An advanced manufacturing engineer assumes those duties and responsibilities to make sure that the goods manufactured are of good quality, that adequate supplies are available, and that production costs are controlled to allow their employer to profit from the sales.
An advanced manufacturing engineer generally works to create the design and function of items such as equipment, tools, computers, and even robots. These resources help the company they work for to increase production of products that are manufactured efficiently and of high quality materials, but at a reasonable cost to allow the company to be competitive within their industry. Advanced manufacturing engineers may work at many different types of companies creating a wide range of products such as chemicals, computers, or airplanes. Specific jobs done by an advanced manufacturing engineer are:
- Creating quality standards and ensuring the company attains them
- Setting up and managing both manufacturing equipment and procedures
- Testing efficiency of manufacturing operation
- Creating budgets for operation based on labor, production time, resources required, and deadlines to be met
- Working with managers and production team to oversee progress and success
- Investigating manufacturing software to improve production
The advanced manufacturing engineer must earn a bachelor’s degree or a Higher Level Apprenticeship in mechanical or manufacturing engineering. In addition to a college degree, job candidates are expected to have a flair for maths and problem-solving, but also skilled in communication and creative in approaching designs and solutions to production issues. Internships are often required when first hired by a manufacturer. A master’s degree in a related area can lead to advancement in the field.
STEM TYPE: Solver
Modern technology is the key to advanced manufacturing as it allows industries to use this new and innovative computerisation to produce even better products more competitively. The role of a mechanical engineer is integral in this innovation, designing and producing machinery to help keep companies at the forefront of a globally competitive marketplace.
A mechanical engineer designs and supervises the manufacture of a wide range of products and machines, from crushing machines to elevators. They create machinery which either produces (in the case of engines and turbines) or consumes energy (such a refrigerators and air conditioners).This advanced manufacturing job also includes research and testing, problem-solving, and prototype development. Mechanical engineers rely on computers to assist them in designing and testing the operation of a machine.
As with other advanced manufacturing careers, mechanical engineering allows employees to work in an ever-changing field, keeping pace with new products design and production using cutting-edge technology.
Education requirements are a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or completion of a Higher Level Apprenticeship
How to Prepare:
Secondary school preparation should include maths and physical science for a mechanical engineering path.
Stem Type: Designer
COMPUTER HARDWARE ENGINEER
Modern technology is the key to advanced manufacturing, and computer hardware engineers form an integral part of this process of innovation. Computer hardware engineers are responsible for the research, design, development and testing of full computer systems and their components including processors, circuit boards and routers.
Computer hardware engineers work in advanced manufacturing conducting research and development. Work also includes the design of hardware systems and parts, which must also be tested and put into production. A computer hardware engineer must also update older systems to work with new software, ensuring the production process can keep up to date with advancing technology.
As with other advanced manufacturing careers, computer hardware engineering allows employees to work in an ever-changing field, keeping pace with new products design and production using cutting-edge technology.
A bachelor’s degree or a Higher Level Apprenticeship in computer engineering, electrical engineering or computer science is required. Knowledge of computer programming may also be required because work with computer software systems is normally required in this job.
How to Prepare:
Students preparing for this and other advanced manufacturing careers should study maths, science, and computer science.
Stem Type: Designer
Modern technology is the key to advanced manufacturing as it allows industries to use this new and innovative computerisation to produce even better products more competitively.
This advanced manufacturing career involves creation of machine parts from blueprints and assembling the parts to create a finished product. Inspection of finished pieces is necessary to ensure the quality of the product. A fabricator is an important role in the manufacturing process which demands both knowledge of new technology and such skills as reading blueprints, fitting parts together, and connecting them.
As with other advanced manufacturing careers, fabrication allow employees to work in an ever-changing field, keeping pace with new products design and production using cutting-edge technology.
School leavers can enter this advanced manufacturing career, but experience and training may be required by some employers or in the case of advanced assembly, work experience in using robots.
How to Prepare:
School students can prepare for this job by studying maths and computer technology, as well as physical education to ensure the strength needed to lift heavy components.
Stem Type: Producer
Machine operators are a vital part of the production chain across the advanced manufacturing sector as without their expertise, the production process would literally grind to a halt. Machinists can operate either manual or computer aided machinery to produce a variety of outputs, from simple components to complicated end products.
Following leaving school and on-the-job training, machinists are able to work to create metal parts, instruments, and tools using specialised and sometimes computer-controlled machine tools. In this advanced manufacturing career, machinists use blueprints and computer-aided design (CAD) to manufacture machine parts either in large quantities, or just one unique item. Specialised equipment such as lasers or water jets are sometimes used by machinists to cut these metal pieces.
As with other advanced manufacturing careers, working as machinists enables employees to work in an ever-changing field, keeping pace with new products design and production using cutting-edge technology.
Aspiring machinists can complete an apprenticeship or learn computer technology, CAD technology, and specialised machine operation in a vocational course at college.
How to Prepare:
Maths courses, as well as technology and design, are important classes to take in school to prepare for this advanced manufacturing career.
Stem Type: Producer
Modern technology is the key to advanced manufacturing as it allows industries to use this new and innovative computerisation to produce even better products more competitively. Electronic Technicians play a vital role in advanced manufacturing in the development and testing of new products.
In this advanced manufacturing career, the technicians assist engineers in designing and developing electrical products. Prototypes, or samples of these types of equipment, are created and given to supervisors for review. Electronic technicians also repair and test equipment, using special diagnostic tools.
As with other advanced manufacturing careers, a career as a computer technician enables an employee to work in an ever-changing field, keeping pace with new products design and production using cutting-edge technology.
Stem Type: Maker
MEGA insight into Work Experience
We know it’s a frustrating time for students trying to make career decisions. With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, work experience opportunities have been paused in many cases to protect the health & wellbeing of staff and students alike.
Have a look at our collection of videos below which will give an insight into what work experience normally entails and what students at GCSE and A-Level stages have gained from their work experience in local manufacturing companies.
With work experience tailored to the needs and interested of students, this opportunity is an invaluable way of gaining an important insight into the inner workings the different departments within a company.
Learn more about what it is like to work within the industry.
Click and watch the videos on our ‘A Day in the Life of’ page.
In today’s competitive and globalised economy, sourcing high-calibre staff with the right skills can be a real challenge. IAESTE allows employers to benefit from the world’s top trainees from the science, engineering, technology and applied arts sectors for short or long term projects.