Manufacturing in the UK is a far cry from what it used to be, and this is something that many people seem to forget. It has suffered somewhat of a bad reputation over the years, but it has more than redeemed itself today.
So, let’s debunk some of the common myths and misconceptions around manufacturing and educate people on what this industry is really about!
Myth: Manufacturing is dirty and dangerous
At one point in time, manufacturing was not a particularly clean or safe place for workers. Injuries and deaths weren’t uncommon. Of course, things have changed dramatically and today, hygiene and safety is absolutely paramount on the shop floor and elsewhere. There are many health and safety laws in place and these are taken incredibly seriously, with personal protection equipment strongly enforced.
This is partially thanks to the rise in automation. Robots and cobots (collaborative robots) are now employed to take on any dangerous tasks and heavy lifting, so that human workers don’t have to. And this by no means leaves human workers redundant – instead, it leaves them free to concentrate on more value-adding tasks that continuously drive the industry forward. It also opens up a multitude of more office-based roles including programmers, CAD engineers, designers, researchers and quality controllers, to name but a few.
Myth: Manufacturing is not well paid
Again, another myth. The job prospects and potential progression within the manufacturing industry are huge. The industry is actually suffering from somewhat of a skills gap. This is because less and less young people are considering manufacturing as a career path. As the baby boomers begin to retire, skilled workers are in low supply but high demand.
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For this reason, workers within the manufacturing industry are highly valued by employers, and this is often reflected within their pay. In fact, the average salary within manufacturing in the UK currently sits at £42,500 per year. Compare this to the average salary generally in the UK which is £31,461, and it’s not difficult to realise that a career in manufacturing is in fact, very well paid!
Myth: Manufacturing jobs are low-skilled with limited opportunities
Manufacturing is fast-paced and at the heart of innovation. A job in manufacturing is no longer simply about picking up a wrench and working up a sweat. It’s about solving problems, programming sophisticated machinery and being part of the next big thing – be that the next supercar, vaccination programme or the next spaceship!
The truth is that no two days in the manufacturing industry are the same. You won’t find yourself lulled into a mundane working routine. Instead, you’ll always be using your brain and thinking up new ideas, bouncing off other people and working in different environments.
That being said, you don’t need a degree in order to have a successful career in manufacturing. The training opportunities within this industry are almost limitless, so you can learn all you need to know on the job.
Today, manufacturing is a much more colourful and creative industry than you might have first thought. Look around you – almost everything you see will have started life in manufacturing. If you are interested in a career in manufacturing, don’t delay. This industry needs you!