As a manufacturing systems engineer you would work with production managers in factories to design and install new manufacturing equipment and assembly lines. You might also be involved in the building of new manufacturing plants.
You would manage each phase of a project, overseeing the work of technicians and other professionals. Your duties could include:
Your overall aim would be to help the factory produce goods on time, on budget and to strict quality standards.
You might work standard office hours Monday to Friday, or you could work shifts and or be involved in an on-call rota, depending on the project.
Your working environment would depend upon your industry. You could be working on the factory floor one day and working in an office or laboratory the next.
Starting salaries can be between £22,500 and £25,000 a year. Experienced engineers can earn between £26,000 and £35,000.
Chartered engineers can earn over £40,000 a year.
You could find work in any branch of manufacturing, such as the automotive, food and drink, aerospace, pharmaceutical and electronics industries.
You could start work as a trainee engineer if you have foundation degree, BTEC HNC/HND or degree in a subject like:
- manufacturing systems engineering
- electrical or electronic engineering
- mechanical engineering
- production or manufacturing engineering
To search for colleges and universities offering foundation degrees, HND's and degrees, visit the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) website also has details of accredited engineering courses.
If you have qualifications in another branch of engineering, you may find it useful to take a postgraduate course like an MSc in manufacturing systems engineering to gain the required skills and knowledge.
See SEMTA's website for general information about engineering careers. The Engineering Training Council (Northern Ireland) has careers information and a course database for local colleges in Northern Ireland.
You would be expected to update your skills and knowledge throughout your career through a process of continuing professional development (CPD).
You could improve your career prospects by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status. To do this, you would have to register with your relevant professional body and apply to the Engineering Council UK.
As an incorporated engineer, you would specialise in the day-to-day management of engineering operations. At chartered level, you would have a more strategic role, planning, researching and developing new ideas, and streamlining management methods. You can visit the Engineering Council UK website for full details about registration.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A manufacturing systems engineer needs:
With experience, you may be able to move into senior management, a partnership in an engineering firm or self-employment as a consultant.
If you work for a larger multinational company, you may have the chance to work on overseas contracts.
Engineering Council UK (ECUK),
246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Institution of Engineering and Technology,
Michael Faraday House, Stevenage,
Hertfordshire SG1 2AY
Tel: 01438 313 311
SEMTA (Science, Engineering and Manufacturing,
Technologies Alliance), 14 Upton Road, Watford,
Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0800 282167
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.