Skip main navigation

A career in manufacturing

A career in manufacturing

If you like to understand the breadth of the business, from the customer through internal operations and through to suppliers, making decisions with real influence, then you may wish to consider a role as an Operations Manager.

Sharing Charles Bamford’s passion for manufacturing, I fully understand the satisfaction he achieves from his role as Operations Manager, for Wild Manufacturing Group Ltd. Knowing that he wanted to work in manufacturing Charles opted for a more vocational route and did an apprenticeship with Rover/BMW group. Whilst there were benefits in terms of training, support and professionalisation from doing his apprenticeship with a large company, Charles felt more comfortable in the more dynamic and agile environment of tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers. He gained a lot from his technical apprenticeship and accelerated his career.

I experienced similar frustration to Charles with the procedures and bureaucracy of a large organisation. Having been sponsored from school by ICI to complete my engineering degree, 2 years after graduation I went to work for a smaller organisation. A SME as it was then Dyson. Like Charles, I enjoyed the opportunity to interface with the supply chain end to end, from customers through internal operations back out to the supply base. I would also concur with Charles that working within operations provided an opportunity to contribute to highly influential business decisions in a way I not envisaged.

We are not all the same, and Charles raises some really good points around ‘fit’. It is really important to know the type of working environment in which you thrive, and build a career around that. That could mean working for less recognised smaller companies that provide greater flexibility and scope than larger more procedure bound multi-nationals.

Talking point

  • How do you think apprenticeships contribute to the development of supply chain capability?
  • What type of organisational environment do you feel you ‘fit’ best into?
  • What’s the difference between an operations and supply chain manager?
This article is from the free online

Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now