Shift and ‘on-call’ work may be required, particularly where manufacturing/production equipment is in continual 24-hour operation.
The exact duties of a quality assurance manager vary from industry to industry. However, typical responsibilities of the job include:
- determining, negotiating and agreeing on in-house quality procedures, standards and specifications
- assessing customer requirements and ensuring that these are met
- setting customer service standards
- specifying quality requirements of raw materials with suppliers
- investigating and setting standards for quality and health and safety
- ensuring that manufacturing processes comply with standards at both national and international level
- working with operating staff to establish procedures, standards and systems
- writing management and technical reports and customers’ charters
- determining training needs
- encouraging change and improvement in performance and quality
- directing objectives to maximise profitability
- recording, analysing and distributing statistical information
- writing reports
- carrying out and monitoring testing and inspection of products ad materials to ensure the finished product meets quality standards
- monitoring performance
- supervising technical or laboratory staff.
- Manufacturing companies
- Engineering companies
- Automotive companies
- Textile companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Processing companies
- Government departments.
Opportunities are advertised online, by careers services and on websites such as Quality Jobs (the jobs website of the Chartered Quality Institute) and New Scientist Jobs. Some larger employers operate graduate training schemes in quality assurance; early applications for these are advisable.
- For help with applying for engineering jobs and internships, take a look at our engineering CV and covering letter tips and our advice on filling out online applications
Although a degree or higher national diploma (HND) in any subject may be acceptable for entry into the profession, you might find that an employer expects candidates to have studied a subject relevant to the industry in which they operate. This might include materials science/technology, food science/technology, textile technology, polymer science/technology, process engineering, production engineering, physics or mathematics. Some employers will look favourably on business studies/management qualifications, too.
For some positions, a postgraduate qualification or a technical degree background is necessary. You can read our article on engineering postgraduate study to explore your options.
While qualifications are useful, you may be able to move into this career after spending time working for an employer in other areas – such as health and safety or quality control.
Relevant work experience is highly desirable and may be gained via final-year project work, work shadowing, degree sponsorship, vacation work or industrial placements. Take a look at our list of engineering employers who offer industrial placements and summer internships.
Membership with the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) can help to show your commitment to your field and will provide opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD), as well as networking events.
- Skills in analysis
- The ability to make considered decisions and to communicate them effectively
- Excellent technical skills
- Good numerical skills and an understanding of statistics
- Leadership ability
- Planning and organisation skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Teamworking skills
- IT 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.