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Manufacturing engineers are responsible for the technical management, maintenance and development of new and existing production lines.

Employers seek commercially aware individuals with strong technical and analytical abilities.

What does a manufacturing engineer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training

Manufacturing engineers work to improve the process of making products such as food and drink, plastics and pharmaceuticals.

Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • designing new equipment, processes, procedures and systems
  • purchasing and installing equipment
  • repairing equipment
  • responding to breakdowns
  • investigating production problems
  • making improvements to current operations to enhance efficiency
  • supervising engineering and technical staff
  • managing budgets
  • maintaining statistical and financial records
  • diagnosing faults
  • planning and organising maintenance
  • liaising with suppliers, customers and research and development staff.

Shift and ‘on-call' work may be required, particularly where manufacturing equipment is in continual 24-hour operation. Career progression often happens through moves into managerial positions or related areas of employment such as plant/production engineering.

You can find out more about manufacturing engineering by reading our manufacturing industry sector overview.

Typical employers of manufacturing engineers

Manufacturing engineers are employed by production and process companies such as food, drink and car manufacturers.

Vacancies are advertised by careers services and recruitment agencies, in local and national newspapers and in a number of technical and manufacturing journals such as TARGETjobs Engineering, The Engineer, Manufacturing Engineering and their respective websites.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into this career for both school leavers and university graduates. Graduates will need a degree in a relevant subject such as manufacturing, mechanical, electrical or electronic engineering. A list of accredited courses is available on the Engineering Council’s website.

If you are a school leaver, you may be able to enter the profession as a trainee with a higher national diploma (HND) or an advanced or higher apprenticeship in an appropriate subject such as manufacturing or mechanical engineering.

You can gain useful experience and insights into the profession through presentations, degree sponsorship, vacation work and industrial placements. Take a look at our list of engineering employers who offer industrial placements and summer internships.

Achieving chartered (CEng) status with the Engineering Council can help to demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your field. To become chartered, you will need an accredited bachelors degree in engineering or technology, plus an appropriate masters degree (MEng) or doctorate (EngD) accredited by a professional engineering institution such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). You will also be eligible with an integrated MSc. To find out more, take a look at our guide to chartership.

Key skills for manufacturing engineers

  • commercial awareness
  • the ability to work well under pressure
  • problem-solving skills
  • teamworking skills
  • relevant technical knowledge
  • good leadership skills
  • IT skills
  • communication skills
  • analytical skills.

Read our article on the skills engineering employers look for for more information and then find out how you can prove you possess these competencies at engineering assessment centres.

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