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Production engineer Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career as a Production engineer

The role of a production engineer is to plan, design, set up, modify, optimise and monitor manufacturing processes. A production engineer also uses a high level of technical expertise and skill to develop and improve the manufacturing processes by studying the product and manufacturing methods.

Production engineers are designers, as well as analytical and creative thinkers and can potentially work in the following industries:

  • Oil

  • Biotechnology

  • Food and drink

  • Plastics

  • Pharmaceuticals

What does a Production engineer do?
The specific duties of a production engineer may vary according to industry and employer; however general duties will likely include the following:

  • Design and conduct research programs

  • Applying knowledge of product design, fabrication, assembly, tooling, and materials

  • Maintaining statistical and financial records

  • Improving current operations

  • Plan and organise maintenance of equipment

  • Organise plant start-up and shut-down schedules to ensure minimum loss of production time and profits

  • Prepare product and process reports by collecting, analysing and summarising information and trends

  • Design new systems and processes to improve existing products

  • Liaise with suppliers and customers

  • Work with finance professionals to manage budgets

  • Comply with government regulations

  • Liaise with research and development staff

  • Maintain product and processing databases by writing computer programs and entering data

  • Keep up to date with current and developing trends in the manufacturing industry

  • Identify faults, investigate production problems and repair equipment quickly and efficiently

  • Scrutinise, tender for and install new equipment, making sure you get the highest quality at the best price

  • Supervision of junior engineers and sub-contractors and ensuring effective communication

  • Develop manufacturing processes by studying product requirements: researching, designing, modifying, and testing manufacturing methods and equipment

Skills & interests required for a Production engineer
Production engineers should have good technical skills, including using computer-assisted design (CAD) software to develop new production techniques. They will often work alongside non-specialist colleagues so will need to be able to explain complex engineering concepts in clear and simple fashions.
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Communication
- Engineering
- Organisation
- Problem Solving
- Project Engineering
- Project Management
- Teamwork
- Time Management
What hours does a Production engineer typically do?
Most companies operate a shift system so a production engineer may be required to work unsocial house, including evenings and weekends. Extra hours may also be required at particularly busy time, e.g. when a new process is being installed.
What environment is a Production engineer based in?
A production engineer is predominantly based within an office environment and is also required to work within a factory/plant setting.
How much does a Production engineer travel?
A production engineer may be required to travel to other companies to visit factories/plants both nationally and internationally.
How much does a Production engineer get paid?
Salary levels vary according to the industry, location and size of the organisation.

Production engineers can expect a starting salary between £22,000 and £28,000 per annum. With experience the salary can increase anything between £25,000 and £40,000 per annum. Production engineering apprentices will earn from £3.70 per hour upwards while undertaking their apprenticeship.

Chartered engineers earn salaries in the region of £40,000 to £60,000 per annum and there is scope to earn an even higher salary in very senior positions.
What qualifications does a Production engineer need?
Production engineers are typically expected to have a degree in engineering. Many employers will offer a degree apprenticeship programme designed to secure your engineering degree while you work in a supporting role.

Although a Master’s degree isn’t necessary, having a relevant Master’s in Engineering, an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) or an integrated MEng degree can enhance career prospects.

It's also possible to enter at a trainee level with an engineering HNC, HND or foundation degree. With experience and further qualifications, you'll then be able to progress into more senior roles.

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