Think engineering is a low paid, boring, manual job? Think again! Welcome to the world of Advanced manufacturing….

Ever dreamed of being part of the next medical breakthrough? The smartest sports car on the market? Or even the creator of new advances in 3D printing?


13 year olds watching a demonstration of the advanced manufacturing process.

Don’t worry that CAN happen if you follow your career dreams…

Many young people today face the daunting prospect of what career path to choose, it may seem early but deciding before GCSE level can be crucial within your decision making process.

 Why not consider a career in engineering?

Lots of people have the idea that engineering is a Manual labour job with a limited salary, but advanced manufacturing is changing this field. It is new innovative technology used to improve products or processes, offering high salaries and the chance to gain expert skills.

3D printing


A product being designed on a computer and then produced on a 3D printer

One of the most exciting advances in technology is 3D printing, it is the process of making 3D solid products using a digital file. It has allowed life changing medical advances involving bio-printing, which consists of printing living body parts to help those who have suffered serious injury and amputation.

Why not use your skills to save lives?

This process has been estimated to take off in the next few years at an extremely rapid pace and Prof Martin Birchall, a surgeon at University College London states “Given the scale of this breakthrough, progress in other fields, the resources available to the researchers at Wake Forest and the imperatives for human health, I think it will be less than a decade before surgeons like me are trialling customised printed organs and tissues. I can’t wait!”


A prosthetic ear created by a 3D printer 

An inspiring story is that of four year old Hannah who since birth has struggled to use her own arms due to underdeveloped muscles. The evolution of 3D bio printing has allowed Hannah to be given “magic arms” which helps her to do the normal things every four year old should be doing. The arms are constructed of lightweight plastic and rubber bands which can be custom made in one night. Rahman who was responsible for this life-changing breakthrough states “Without the 3-D printer, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in with these younger kids.”

Think you are not capable of doing this? Think again……

Another successful case brought about through bio-printing is Harmony Taylor who is aged four and was given the gift of a lifetime from two 18 year old high school students in Michigan, a 3D printed robohand at the cost of $5,000.

The two students spent around six week’s constructing this hand via a 3D printer that was donated to their high school. The students commented on their experience of being able to be involved in such an inspiring project. “It is so great to be able do something that can change her life,” Harmony’s mother commented on the positive effects this invention is going to have on her child’s life “I am so excited because this is going to make her more independent.”


A student from Michigan high school handing over the roboarm to 4 year old Harmony

Why choose a career in advanced manufacturing?

  • You were there for the starting years of a technological development which will become a global phenomenon.
  • You can use creative skills to build designs which may be life changing to the public.
  • 3D printing technicians are paid well with a starting salary of £25,000.
  • This growing industry needs YOU and your skills!
  • 35% of all adverts posted for engineering jobs in the last 30 days prioritize 3D printing and additive manufacturing as the most sought-after skill.
  • There are numerous avenues that this career path can open up for you including healthcare, fashion, film-making or car manufacturing and the industry is only going to continue to grow.

What to do now?

There is such a high demand for young people to choose a career within advanced manufacturing due to the rapid growth of the industry, it is estimated that by 2020 the 3D printing industry is going to be worth a staggering £5 billion.

There are a number of steps to take if you are interested in following the advanced manufacturing career path…

  • Choose a related GCSE subject to study. Including maths, science or design technology which will increase your interest and ability to go into this field
  • A number of universities offer a degree in 3D printing, these universities are the University of Nottingham and at the University of Sheffield there is a centre for advanced manufacturing which provides students with machines to use worth £4 million
  • You can choose a degree topic which compliments a career in 3D printing including, engineering, computer and software design or biomedical technology.
  • Continue to Build up your skills, these skills are known as ‘industry standard skills’ which means they are transferrable to any type of 3D printing career. This includes the use of 3D CAD software.

Local courses and degrees in 3D printing:


Barnatt, C. (2015). Bioprinting. Available: Last accessed 18/02/2016.

Gilpin, L. (2014). New 3D bioprinter to reproduce human organs, change the face of healthcare: The inside story. Available: Last accessed 18/02/2016.

Koslow, T. (2016). Bioprinting Breakthrough: Researchers 3D Print Living Tissue for Functional Implants. Available:  Last accessed 18/02/2016.

Zaleski, A. (2015). Why 3D printing is the future of manufacturing, not just a cool gimmic. Available: Last accessed 18/02/2016.

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