Quality assurance and testing careers

Key roles include:-

  • Using measuring equipment to make sure that parts are within tolerance limits
  • Inspecting materials for defects, using methods like non-destructive testing (NDT)
  • Thorough testing before a product is launched
  • Assessing supplier quality control
  • Dealing with customer feedback and complaints
  • Reviewing and updating quality control policies.

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What skills do I need
  • Close attention to detail
  • Able to work to standards / procedures
  • Technical knowledge relevant to the industry
  • Read drawings / specifications
  • Methodical approach to work
  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills.
Below are Case Studies of successful people who followed this path.
Reece Bills - Apprentice Quality Inspector
A Levels > Apprenticeship > Employment
Introduction

Reece is an Apprentice Quality Inspector at BST Supplies Limited. He decided to follow an apprenticeship route after sixth form as he didn’t want to go to university because of the debt.

Why choose this route?

Reece said “I wanted to start earning and an apprenticeship meant I could carry on learning as well as being offered a higher wage than the National Apprenticeship Wage and this made a difference.”

“By doing an apprenticeship you can learn on the job, it’s practical and you are shown what to do.”

“At university you don’t get the practical / hands on skills this is why I chose the apprenticeship route.”

What happened?

Reece stayed on at sixth form after school for two years and did A levels in Engineering, ICT and AS Psychology. He joined Mercia Management Training and was offered an interview at BST for an apprenticeship where he initially started a Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations.

Reece has now moved on to his Level 3 and continues his apprenticeship by studying Engineering. Assessment is on the job / in the work place and he attends college on day release.

Reece’s key roles include checking that the parts are right based on the customer’s specifications. “When they come off the machines I inspect and check the components against the requirements to ensure they match. I am now learning more about the testing side of things.”

John York – QHSE Manager at BST said
“Reece has shown a great attitude to work and is keen to learn, he has really developed in his skills and confidence since he joined us.”
BST SUpplies - Wolverhampton

BST Supplies Ltd employs around 100 people machining specialised fasteners (bolts, screws, etc.) for the oil, gas, nuclear and submarine applications for customers such as BAE and the Royal Navy. These fasteners are used in harsh environments in inaccessible locations so the quality control of the material properties and machining is vital.

Kay Gibbons – Supplier Quality Engineer
Apprenticeship > Employment
Introduction

Kay left school with no engineering based qualifications however studied part time while working to complete an adult apprenticeship up to HNC level.

Why choose this route?

To increase her skills and experience, Kay has continued to study whilst at work. Kay said that going to college was the best thing she did to help her progress and achieve her HNC. She plans to take further units to complete a foundation degree shortly.

What happened?

After leaving school, Kay begun work at a factory full time for 12 months but moved on to widen prospects and a higher salary at ZF Lemforder as an Assembly Worker. After a year studying, Kay was awarded ‘Student of the Year’ at Dudley College.

Kay has completed her Apprenticeship / Diploma in Engineering and is in her fourth year progressing towards her HNC. Kay is now Trainee Supplier/Quality Engineer, the role includes dealing with suppliers and quality checking the components they supply. Travel plays a key part in her role and Kay has already visited Poland, Croatia, Germany and Taiwan!

“I wanted a skilled job – something with prospects. It’s hard to know what you want to do when you leave school. I applied for various courses and apprenticeships and was offered the apprentice role at ZF Lemforder.”
ZF Lemforder - Wednesbury

ZF Lemforder is part of a German owned group employing 350 people at its site in Wednesbury where they machine and assemble high volumes of steering and suspension joints for cars including Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Toyota and BMW. These parts are safety critical in a car and so the quality assurance of all parts being sold is extremely important.

Production processes and methods in the Black Country
Quality assurance and testing roles are found in every manufacturing company but especially where there are precise tolerances and specifications. Other Black Country companies with this type of role include:- 3D Dimensional Ltd, AJT Equipment, Brockmoor Foundry Co Ltd, Cab Automotive Ltd, Caparo Group, Moog, Phoenix Calibration Ltd, Huf UK Ltd, Titgemeyer UK Ltd, Thompson Friction Welding Ltd, Timken and United Technologies.
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