Plastics and other materials careers

Most common are plastics, composites (e.g. carbon fibre), rubber and wood.

Practical roles include the operation and setting of plastic moulding, machines, laminating and pattern making.

More theoretical roles include the design of tooling and production in these materials.

Download case study pdf
What skills do I need
  • Maths and IT skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Decision making skills
  • Good with standards and processes
  • Practical skills for non-machine roles
  • Knowledge of material properties
  • Ability to work to deadlines
  • Ability to work under pressure.
Below are Case Studies of successful people who followed this path.
Martin Jewkes – Design and Development Engineer
A Levels > Degree > Employment > Masters

Martin did A levels in Maths and IT after school and then began studying for a degree, wanting to become an Architect. The degree incorporated building design, architectural design, video games and product design, but lacked any work experience or placement and Martin found it difficult to gain employment after completion.

What happened?

Martin did his first degree in virtual reality design, but found it exceptionally hard to gain full time employment after graduation.

After several months of unemployment Martin offered his skills on a voluntary basis to Waterfit. “It took a while to settle in and demonstrate what I could do – but I learnt a lot of new skills and underpinning engineering knowledge from others.”

The company received a new contract and was luckily able to offer a paid contract to Martin as a Design and Development Engineer.

Martin’s role includes a variety of activities including; project planning, prototyping, dealing with suppliers, website development, pressure testing, product testing, maintenance of standards, database queries and cost estimations.

Simon Boyes, Managing Director at Waterfit said
“Martin has gone from a graduate with no real work or practical skills to an innovative designer – his drive and self-development has been exceptional.”
Why choose this route?

Martin opted for the academic route of A levels after school as he was unsure about his exact career choice. He then went on to do a degree and is now studying for his Masters at the University of Wolverhampton in Advanced Product Design and Rapid Manufacturing. Waterfit is supporting the costs and allowing the day release required for his two year study. Simon Boyes said “Employers need to facilitate learning – it is key to future development.”

“The lack of work experience and practical skills hindered me getting a job after my degree.”

Waterfit Ltd

Waterfit Ltd manufactures fittings in both metal and plastic for the water industry. Waterfit is a major supplier to national and local water companies. It exports all over the world including the Middle East, Cyprus and the Caribbean.

Production processes and methods in the Black Country
Although the Black Country is best known for manufacturing metals, there are many companies in High Value Manufacturing using plastics, composites and wood.
Many of the fundamental skills remain the same, but with specialist knowledge of the material processes and equipment utilised in the relevant area. Other Black Country companies in non-metal High Value Manufacturing include:-
Aeroplas Ltd, Glenlake International Ltd, Ramsay Rubber & Plastics Ltd, Huf UK Ltd, Thomas Dudley Ltd, Hockley Pattern & Tool Ltd and Robinson Pattern Equipment Ltd.
Download case study Download case study pdf
Select another case study from the list below.
Are you up to the challenge?
Order your careers information pack including:
  • Career map
  • Career wheel
  • Detailed career path information
  • Real life case studies
  • Salaries and levels
and much more....
Reserve an information pack