Why manufacturing is an excellent career choice in 2021

Written by John Cameron

21 May 2021

Manufacturing has for a long time been one of the backbones of our economy. The rapid pace of technological change is driving the sector to innovate and evolve. Manufacturing offers employees the opportunity to work on revolutionary projects - from exploring uses of technologies such as sensors and the Internet of Things to collaborating with academia in the development of new applications for novel technologies.


A growth industry

Manufacturing is expected to enter a period of growth, which presents exciting opportunities to embark on a career in the sector. Manufacturing companies anticipate increased sales, and investment is planned to meet the speedy recovery and future growth.

Sector expansion often goes hand-in-hand with career growth and new opportunities to expand roles and hire new talent. Over 60% of companies in the sector currently say they need to recruit.

The future of UK manufacturing depends on attracting young talent, from operators to engineers and hand solder specialists to quality inspectors. Agile, dynamic and at the cutting edge, it is no surprise that the manufacturing sector is attracting such a diverse range of talent.

CB Technology is regularly seeking top candidates for direct and indirect manufacturing roles. The diversity of roles supporting the manufacturing industry means that opportunities for career growth and advancement often lie outside an individual’s original core skill set, opening unexpected doors for employees.

Combined with a manufacturing skills shortage, the thriving industry means there are endless opportunities for motivated candidates to earn themselves an interesting and diverse career.


Essential skills

Naturally, some positions need specific skill sets; however, the strongest asset that CB Technology has is its people, their work ethic, and attitude.

A focus on teamwork, willingness to embrace the fast pace of change in the industry and pride in our work are essential traits we look for. The candidate needs to be the right fit for the role but, more importantly, the right fit for our company. If you have the drive and enthusiasm to succeed, both as an individual and as part of a team, you are on the right track!

Skills in demand include electronic and test engineers with capabilities that can be applied to developing test solutions for products - a vital part of our business offering at CB Technology. Continuous improvement is a huge focus in the industry and candidates skilled in LEAN Six Sigma - a process for solving problems and reducing waste - have a distinct advantage. Similarly, Process and Quality Engineering candidates who have a LEAN background, either as a green belt or a black belt, are in high demand across all manufacturing sectors.


Advances in technology

With technology driving change, a career at CB Technology means working at the cutting edge of these advances. Tech continues to forge ahead in the fields of automation, remote monitoring, AI and robotics, sensing and the Internet of Things. We are part of that development, every single day.

Real-time technologies, sensors, cloud computing and lasers ensure that the industry is increasingly smart and digitally advanced. Many of today’s factories are automated, improving productivity and providing safer working conditions for employees. Predictive analytics help minimise machine breakdowns and business intelligence improves processes and boosts efficiency. Manufacturers are exploring the viability of 3D printing to decrease waste and improve output.

The application of robotics in the manufacturing industry is expected to grow significantly. A recent trend is the use of collaborative robots or ‘cobots’ that work alongside people to reduce hazards and improve efficiency.


Career pathways

 Operations and support roles in manufacturing welcome candidates via different routes, including foundation apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, National 5 or higher-level qualifications. For operations, a background in engineering and science is useful. For support roles such as purchasing, customer service and administration, a background in business studies or secretarial is ideal.

Engineer functions are open to graduates and college leavers holding HNCs and HNDs, qualified in key skills such as electrical engineering, mechatronics, mechanical engineering, quality engineering and LEAN.

 CB Technology also recruits via Modern Apprenticeships.


A fulfilling career

 Manufacturing is seeing a strong upturn and the opportunities for challenging and rewarding careers are endless. With technological advancement transforming the industry, a career in manufacturing could involve robotics, lasers, sensors, the IoT and more. Whether you are a qualified engineer or a school leaver, there are fulfilling career choices waiting for you in manufacturing and its many support roles.


Two recent recruits at CB Technology are Ryan O’Kane, a graduate test engineer, and Claire Quinney who works as a junior buyer at the company.


Ryan O’Kane joined CB Technology as a graduate test engineer following completion of a degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Heriot-Watt University. Ryan_final



Why did you choose to work in a manufacturing company? What was the appeal?

Manufacturing is a constantly evolving sector which is becoming more reliant on the use of smart technologies and systems. Working in this sector is giving me exposure to many technologies which has helped me develop as an engineer and having that variety means no two days are the same.


Why join CB Technology?

The initial attraction to CB Technology was the variety of products that are manufactured here. The company has a rich history of making small-scale probe cards for the semiconductor industry and when I joined, that focus had diversified to oil and gas, Space, High End Communication, industrial sensing and monitoring. That shift confirmed to me that CB Technology is a company that is agile and adaptable to the ever-changing manufacturing industry.


What type of work do you get involved in?

As a graduate test engineer, I am responsible for the production test and debug of a variety of products. This ranges from small scale PCBs to fully finished box-build assemblies. I am responsible for the calibration of all measurement equipment. I have also been involved in project work, NPI processes, audits and customer site visits.


How has your role/career developed since joining?

I walked in the door new to electronics/PCB manufacturing, and after 18 months I feel confident in dealing with many of the challenges that can arise here.


What has working at CB contributed to your skill set, knowledge and experience?

Since starting at CB, I have been able to develop my communication and technical skills more and contribute to multi-disciplined projects across the business regularly.

Studying electronics gives you the basics on theory and application but, working at CB, I have been able to bridge the gap between the classroom and understanding real-world uses for technologies.

It is a real eye-opener when starting your first professional job. You have responsibilities from day 1 and this has helped me become a contributor to a large, experienced team.


How do you see future opportunities in manufacturing?

Engineers are constantly looking to refine processes and make them more efficient, cost effective, environmentally friendly etc, and manufacturing is an industry in constant demand.

Processes will become smarter, controls more efficient and more data is being captured, all of which need the skills of an engineer.


What would you say to people leaving school, college or university about a career in manufacturing?

Manufacturing is an industry that is moving with the rest of the world in terms of technology. The skills and knowledge gained in an academic setting can be used seamlessly in manufacturing in a broad range of applications.


Claire Quinney started working at CB Technology as a junior buyer, having qualified with an HND in Administration & Information Management claire_final



Why did you choose to work in a manufacturing company? What was the appeal?

When I was looking for a new role, working in a specific industry was not a high priority for me but when I saw the role of junior buyer advertised at CB Technology, I could see that this could be a good opportunity for me. During my interview I was given more insight to the company’s success and future plans. Manufacturing is a good industry to work in as it brings a lot of new products onto the market and can also give you some challenges to work to. With technology changing all the time it means that your job in manufacturing changes along with it, there is always something new coming!


What type of work do you get involved in?

As a buyer, my main role is to purchase the parts required for production. I also have a role, when any new products come on board, to raise any issues on parts/suppliers. I attend early-stage meetings to get an understanding of what product we will be building; this is very helpful as it gives an insight to what we will be doing and the volumes we are expecting.


How has your role/career developed since joining?

During my time at CB Technology, I have been given more customers to look after from when I initially started. This has included existing customers as well as new customers which we have brought on. This has given me more variety in the parts I am buying which in turn gives more experience in the options of parts being purchased.


How do you see future opportunities in manufacturing?

The electronics industry is always changing and trying to make things better. Working in manufacturing within this industry, I would hope that we would get more customers. When we gain more customers, it will give us more variety and perhaps some exciting challenges! With changes happening all the time I also hope this would bring new people into the manufacturing environment who can bring new and fresh ideas.


What would you say to people leaving school, college or university about a career in manufacturing

Good choice! In this industry you will always be working on things that will improve someone/something somewhere. With new products always on the horizon and working within manufacturing there are always opportunities to excel in your career and progress.


Keep in touch with the latest opportunities on our careers page.