Specialized Skills: the Changing Face of Manufacturing Jobs
Why would a site focused on post-secondary alumni write an article on manufacturing, you might wonder. The reason lies within certain misconceptions most of use have. Picture a manufacturing facility, maybe one that produces auto parts or machinery. For most people, the image of a manufacturing plant is dirty, grimy, dangerous, and filled with waste. These factories are filled with unskilled laborers toiling away in greasy, oily uniforms. This stereotypical image of a factory keeps many people from considering a career in the manufacturing industry. Luckily, modern manufacturing is nothing like the stereotypical image that is commonly associated with manufacturing. The world of manufacturing has evolved and changed drastically over the past few years and it is time their image was upgraded.
Manufacturing factories have to follow environmental standards, health standards, and safety standards as do other businesses. When a factory fails to maintain a healthy work environment, the company could encounter fines large enough to effectively close small factory doors for good or even serve as a big blow for major corporations. Automation has also greatly helped with keeping the work environment clean by removing spillage risks and reducing human error. Factories need to be kept up to date and in proper maintenance in order to comply with having a safe work environment. Some manufacturing jobs can be dangerous because they deal with raw materials and/or hazardous chemicals. In order for factories to remain open they have to ensure that their employees are following protocols and procedures that keep them safe. Access to areas also tends to be restricted to employees who are trained. Having restricted access keeps untrained and random visitors safe from potentially dangerous areas. Making sure employees are trained and capable at their job is another way manufacturing factories keep their factories safe.
Speaking of employees, people can no longer simply walk up to a factory get a job in manufacturing. Thanks to technology, most work in manufacturing factories is now considered skilled labor. Most individuals coming into a manufacturing factory need to have certifications, previous experience, or vocational training. Technology has allowed for several processes such as assembly or glass manufacturing to become automated. Hazardous jobs have also been partly taken over by automation such as having a robot spray paint a car in production instead of endangering a person. Automation has removed many unskilled labor positions in manufacturing. In its place it has allowed for job creation for programmers and individuals to monitor and trouble shoot these programs while in action. One of the top skills in-demand right now in manufacturing is coding: machine programming is a critical part of the automation process and it just goes to show how much the manufacturing arena has evolved in recent years.
Unfortunately due to the negative stereotype associated with manufacturing factories, skilled laborers are not always found. Some companies end up being willing to pay top dollar to entice potential skilled or vocationally trained individuals into working in a manufacturing factory. Increasingly the Government has encouraged students to consider going for a career in manufacturing. They offer additional assistance for some students who decide to go down a path in technical or vocational training that will lead them to manufacturing. A career in manufacturing typically pays more than the average service job but people are still stuck on seeing manufacturing as a dead end career for unskilled labor. Manufacturing factories need to start broadcasting more of their positives to not only change their image but to also attract more skilled laborers. It is time to start encouraging skilled individuals and students that a job in manufacturing opens doors and is a great career option.