Manufacturing & Processing
The manufacturing and production sector covers organisations of all sizes from small local firms to multinational corporations. They can produce highly technical or high value goods or everyday household objects or food. The fast-moving consumer goods organisations produce items which need to be manufactured delivered and sold in a relatively short timescale. This includes food and drink manufacturers such as Kraft or Diageo and toiletries or household cleaners such as Reckitt Benckiser and L'Oreal.
AGCAS, the professional body for higher education careers advisory services, has produced Industry Insight for Manufacturing which provides an overview of what it is like to work in this area.
Many larger companies offer a graduate training scheme where trainees work in different parts of the company including Production Management or Operational Management. Other companies may advertise positions which offer direct entry with a job title such as Production Trainee.
There is an overlap between this area and that for Pharmaceutical Production, Logistics and also with the Engineering information where roles in Aeronautical and Automobile engineering are also part of the manufacturing sector. If you are interested in Research and Development then the resources on scientific work should also be referred to.
As with any company those in manufacturing and production employ graduates for roles in Human Resources and Finance as well as General Management and Marketing, IT, Sales etc. So if you are interested in these roles within a manufacturing company please also refer to the appropriate pages within this section of the website.
Remember to check the Events section of the Careers Employability & Enterprise Centre website regularly for details of relevant talks by manufacturing companies here at Durham.
|Manufacturing Systems Engineer|
|Product/Process Development Scientist|
As with most graduate roles work experience is very important when looking to start a career in this sector. It helps you gain a better understanding of the world of work in general and develop transferable skills and competencies. Relevant work experience also gives an insight into manufacturing and helps you to demonstrate motivation and understanding on your application form and at interview.
If you are in first year of your undergraduate degree you may be able to apply to attend a taster day, where the employer will take you to their site and combine a tour and information about the company and its graduate roles with participation in work simulation activities, such as a group business game. These are an excellent way to see if the company / sector is for you and if you enjoy the experience it will look good on applications for an internship later.
Most of the large manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods companies will run summer internship schemes for those undergraduates between their penultimate and final year of study. If you intend to return to university for a Masters course you could apply for an internship between final year and your Masters course instead.
Internships are advertised during Michaelmas term and closing dates can be before Xmas or early in the New Year. You can search for these on the careers centre vacancy pages www.durham.ac.uk/careers, select Services to Students and then click on vacancies. You should also check www.prospects.ac.uk and choose Jobs and Work Experience.
Other relevant work experience can also be very valuable. This may be with a small or medium firm in the manufacturing sector, which does not run formal graduate recruitment or internship scheme. Or it may be with a large manufacturer but in a lower level role e.g. working on the production line of a food manufacturing company. Although this will not provide the intellectual challenges of an internship it will still demonstrate motivation to work in manufacturing and also develop a good insight into the sector. You might find these roles in the NE or in your home town, either through temporary employment ages, through the Job Centre http://jobseekers.direct.gov.uk
You should also consider contacting the HR department of local employers directly. You can identify these quite easily by doing a search at www.yell.com and searching for manufacturers and then the geographical area you wish to work in. Local knowledge of friends and family can be very helpful here too of course.
There are many graduates training schemes for all different roles in this sector, both technical and business. Many of these will be advertised from September for a summer / autumn start the following year.
Closing dates can be from November onwards with many closing by January. Others will be open all year round for applications but once their opportunities are full then you may miss out, so early application is still advised.
These types of work will use specialist websites but here are a few of the best general websites where manufacturing and processing roles are advertised.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership www.ktponline.org.uk – opportunities for paid graduate positions leading to higher level qualifications such as MScs or PhDs
Durham University Careers, Employability & Enterprise Centre www.durham.ac.uk/careers - go into the section for students and then click on vacancies.
Prospects www.prospects.ac.uk – you search for summer jobs and internships plus graduate vacancies for the full range of roles within the manufacturing sector.
Target Jobs - http://targetjobs.co.uk/graduate-jobs - search for graduate jobs and work experience in fast moving consumer goods and other manufacturing organisations.
The following are key professional bodies and organisations related to careers in the manufacturing and processing industries. You should also investigate the professional bodies of other career areas of interest.
Institute of Manufacturing – www.instituteofmanufacturing.org.uk
Membership benefits include professional status and recognition, free subscription to the Institute of Manufacturing E-Journal and free advert in the journal when seeking a new position.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers – www.sme.org
A one-stop shop for students, offering everything from hard-to-find technical information on state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and applications to providing you unparalleled networking opportunities to help you land that first job on your career path.
You can search for postgraduate courses at www.prospects.ac.uk then click on ‘postgraduate study’ on the green menu then choose ‘search courses and research’ from the drop-down menu. You can then search by different types of roles including Manufacturing Management and enter key words. This allows you to find courses at all UK universities and link through to their websites to read more about each course. The information also details funding e.g. if eligible to funding from one of the research councils, from the university itself or industry sponsored researched.
But remember, with a good degree from Durham, further study is usually not required for entry to a graduate training scheme in manufacturing.