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Ways in


There are four main entry points into manufacturing.  

Apprenticeship level

Apprenticeships are offered by many of the manufacturing sectors and it may be possible to train up to operative or technician level. Vacancies are on the National Apprenticeship website.

Operative level

Although it is possible to find a job as a manufacturing operative without any formal qualifications, GCSEs can be useful. For an apprenticeship, A*-C grades, including English, maths and a science may be required by some employers. With increased automation and use of technology, most operatives need to have some understanding of information technology and of the systems involved in producing goods. Some employers may ask applicants to take a technical aptitude test to assess their manual skills.

Technician/ skilled level

Technicians and skilled manufacturing workers can either train with an employer on an Apprenticeship, or take a full-time or part-time college course and then apply to an employer for a trainee technician post. With increasing competition, it is likely that more and more employers will required A*-C grades/equivalent including English, maths and a science. Some skilled jobs such as graphic design, furniture design or food technologist may require specific qualifications and/or experience in the skill area.

Management level

It may be possible to start as a trainee manager with good GCSEs or A levels/equivalent although some manufacturing managers enter with an industry-related degree or a specific skill area such as product design, digital product design, accountancy, food science/technology or materials science.


For courses in higher education, see UCAS

For courses in schools and colleges, see UCAS Progress

For Apprenticeship information, including vacancies, see the National Apprenticeship Service