Production Manager (Manufacturing)

Job Description:

Production managers make sure manufacturing processes run smoothly and cost-effectively, and deliver products on time.

Job Category:
Manufacturing & Electronics

What you will do:

As a production manager, you’ll:

  • draw up production plans and set quality standards
  • monitor production schedules and adjust them if problems occur
  • manage the production team
  • work with suppliers to get parts and raw materials
  • make sure performance targets are met and waste is kept to a minimum
  • oversee the training and development of staff
  • write reports for senior managers and customers


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • leadership skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • administrative & organisational skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Production Manager in the manufacturing industry, there are no specific subject requirements. However, it’s beneficial to have a strong educational foundation and skills that can be applied to the role. Here are some suggested subjects that can help prepare you for a career as a Production Manager in manufacturing:

  1. Mathematics: Strong math skills are essential for tasks like managing budgets, calculating production costs, and optimising manufacturing processes.
  2. Science (Physics or Chemistry): Understanding the principles of physics and chemistry can be valuable for comprehending manufacturing processes and quality control.
  3. Design and Technology or Engineering: These subjects can provide insights into manufacturing processes, materials, and production techniques.
  4. Business Studies: Knowledge of business principles and management concepts can be useful when overseeing production operations.
  5. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software and data analysis tools is important for modern manufacturing processes.
  6. English: Good communication skills are crucial for interacting with teams, writing reports, and managing production documentation.
  7. Design and Graphics (if available): These subjects can be helpful if you are involved in product design and production planning.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in manufacturing. Some employers may look for a degree of relevance to their particular industry, for example:

  • automotive or aerospace engineering
  • food production
  • pharmaceuticals
  • chemical engineering
  • materials engineering

It’s important to gain relevant industry experience during your degree. This could be through:

  • vacation placements
  • internships
  • year in industry schemes

With a degree you can apply to manufacturing or production graduate management schemes.

The apprenticeship route you take will depend on the sector you want to work in. The following higher and degree apprenticeships may help you to get into this role:

  • process leader higher apprenticeship
  • manufacturing management degree apprenticeship
  • food and drink advanced production engineer apprenticeship

You could start as an engineering technician or quality control officer in a manufacturing company. You could then become a team leader and shift supervisor before moving into production management through training and promotion.

Direct Application
You could apply for a place on a management training scheme with a manufacturing company. They usually ask for a degree but you may be able to start without university qualifications if you can show you’ve enough relevant industry experience.

Career tips
In the UK, a knowledge of production methods and quality standards, for example ISO9000, will be helpful.

Working Hours and Environment:

Your typically working hours could be variable.

You could work in an office or in a factory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could move into overall factory management, or strategic planning roles at regional or national level in a larger company.

If you work for a national or international company, you may have the opportunity to work overseas.