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Manufacturing

Ways in

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There are four main entry points into manufacturing.  

The qualifications you need for entry depend on the level you start at. It is possible to improve both your skills and your prospects by taking additional training and qualifications, to enable you to progress from operative to technician/skilled level and on to management level.

Main entry points:

Apprenticeship level

There are apprenticeships on offer right across the manufacturing sector so you can train up to operative or technician level via an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship vacancies can be searched on http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

Operative level

Although it is possible to find a job as a manufacturing operative without any formal qualifications, GCSEs (A*-E) can be useful, especially if you are keen to start training on an Apprenticeship. With increased automation and use of technology, operatives need to have some understanding of Information Technology and of the systems involved in producing goods. Some employers may ask applicants to take a technical aptitude test to assess their manual skills.

Many operatives start as apprentices and train on the job. There are also pre-employment training courses at some colleges and training providers, and a range of manufacturing-related qualifications at different levels, including Foundation or Higher level Diplomas in Manufacturing and City & Guilds qualifications.

The main route into craft level is through an Apprenticeship. There are no set qualifications required for entry, but individual employers may ask for at least four GCSEs (A*-C), including English, maths and a subject such as science, engineering, or design and technology or the Diploma in engineering or construction and the built environment at higher level.

Technician/ skilled level

Technicians and skilled manufacturing workers can either train with an employer on an Apprenticeship, or take a full-time or part-time college course and then apply to an employer for a trainee technician post.

Individual employers may ask for at least four GCSEs (A*-C), including English, maths and a subject such as science, engineering, or design and technology or the Diploma in manufacturing or engineering at higher level.

  It may be possible to start as a trainee technician with four GCSE's (A*-C) via an Apprenticeship scheme. The Diploma in manufacturing or the Diploma in engineering may also be relevant.

Some skilled jobs such as graphic design, furniture design or food technologist may require specific qualifications and/or experience in the skill area.

Management level

It may be possible to start as a trainee manager with four GCSE's (A*-C) via an Advanced Apprenticeship scheme. Employers may ask for at least four GCSEs (A*-C), including English, maths and a subject such as science, engineering, or design and technology or the Diploma in manufacturing or engineering at higher level.

Some manufacturing managers enter after an industry related degree - for example in manufacturing or management or a specific skill area such as product design, digital product design, accountancy, food science/technology or materials science.

 Minimum qualifications for manufacturing degrees are generally a minimum of two A levels or equivalent and five subjects at GCSE (A*-C) or equivalent.  Some degree subjects such as product design and food science may have specific subject requirements at A level or equivalent so do check the subject that interests you on http://www.ucas.co.uk/.

There are also a range of manufacturing foundation degrees - these generally require a minimum of one A level or equivalent and four subjects at GCSE (A* - C) or equivalent.  Some manufacturing degrees combine a foundation year as a starting point to an honours degree.

For more information about the courses on offer locally for 14-19 year olds - including the new Diplomas in engineering - why not check out your local area prospectus?

Walsall - www.choosewalsall.com/home.aspx

Wolverhampton - www.area-prospectus.com 

For courses in higher education check out the UCAS website - www.ucas.com

For Apprenticeships check out vacancies on the National Apprenticeship site  www.apprenticeships.org.uk