Do you like creating and making things, problem-solving and thinking creatively? Have you thought about a career in manufacturing or engineering?

MSA's careers information sheets are a complete print ready resource covering a range of manufacturing career options with relevant qualifications to help you get on your way to your dream career! These sheets are designed for school-leavers and anyone else who is interested in gaining information on the many opportunities available in the manufacturing industry.

Select from one of the 15 industry sectors below that looks interesting. Click on the areas of employment that you are most interested in and download the information sheet.

So take a look at the exciting job and career possibilities:


In Aerospace careers, the sky is the limit! Would you like to work on the maintenance of modern jet aircraft for Australia's airlines? Or maybe you'd prefer repairing jet fighters and helicopters for the defence forces?

Modern aircraft are highly complex structures and are made up of hundreds (or thousands) of different components and systems, which all need to be both manufactured and maintained to stringent safety standards.

This is a fascinating and fulfilling area for people who like aircraft, have a strong attention to detail, and love solving complex problems. You could work in aero-structure components, mechanical engineering and avionics systems, regional light aircraft fleets, telecommunications, remote sensing or navigation equipment.

There are great opportunities for skilled people to work in Aeronautical Engineering, aircraft Structural Maintenance, Mechanical Maintenance and Avionics. Apart from employment in Australia, remember that there are also huge opportunities opening up world-wide for careers and advancement in Aerospace!

Areas of employment in the aeroskills sector include:

Aircraft maintenance engineering

  • Aircraft maintenance engineer (avionics)
  • Aircraft maintenance engineer (mechanical)
  • Aircraft maintenance engineer (structures)

Aeroskills specialisations

  • Licensed aircraft maintenance engineer (LAME)
  • Aeronautical engineer)
  • Aircraft maintenance manager

Aircraft maintenance

  • Aircraft surface finisher
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Chemicals, hydrocarbons and refining

The chemicals, hydrocarbons and refining sector provides us with products that play a vital role in our everyday lives: paints and inks, soaps, detergents and cosmetics for a start. Then there are glues and resins, plastic car components, hoses, fibre optic cable, industrial gases, aviation fuel, fertilisers and pesticides, synthetic rubber, explosives and even surfboards.

You might develop more efficient fuels, recycle plastics, or develop new life saving drugs. You could build maxi yachts or wind turbines from composite materials, make important new agricultural products or develop exciting new cosmetics.

This area is highly research oriented and rapidly changing, and technicians and technologists skilled in advanced manufacturing operations are in demand. If you want to work in a cutting edge sector then chemicals, hydrocarbons and refining could be for you.

Areas of employment in the chemical, hydrocarbons and refining sector include:

Plant operators

  • Chemical plant operator
  • Gas or petroleum operator
  • Power generation plant operator


  • Plant technician
  • Senior plant technician
  • Quality control technician
  • Product development technician
  • Senior production technicia
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Electrical and electronics

Almost everything powered uses electricity and electronics in some form, from miniature microphones to high-speed trains. This is a rapidly developing, high-tech sector spanning occupations in the electrical, sustainable energy, electronic, communications and information technology fields.

New fields, such as data communication, home automation, intelligent systems for facilities management, and more sophisticated fire and security systems, are constantly emerging.

Qualifications in electrics or electronics could see you involved in a wide variety of vital products and systems. You have the opportunity to manufacture and maintain lifts, escalators, refrigeration and air conditioning, computer systems, fire protection and security alarms, navigation equipment, entertainment equipment, wireless technology, solar energy equipment, robotics systems or computer controlled production systems.

The skills you gain in electrical or electronics could also see you moving into information communication and computer technology (ICT), aerospace, photonics or robotics, to name a few. Mechatronics is a specialist area combining mechanical, electrical and electronics skills in areas such as process control and robotics.

Areas of employment in the electrics/electronics sector include:

Electrical engineering

  • Electrician
  • Electrical engineering draftsperson
  • Electrical engineering technician
  • Electrical engineer

Electronics engineering

  • Electronic engineering draftsperson
  • Electronic engineering technician
  • Electronic engineer
  • Electronic equipment tradesperson
  • Electronic instrument tradesperson

Instrument fitting

  • Instrument fitter
  • Instrumentation tradesperson


  • Mechatronics/robotics technician
  • Mechatronic engineer
  • Design engineer
  • Computer numerically controlled (CNC) setters and programmers
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Engineering - fabrication

Engineering fabrication is a trade skill that involves cutting, shaping, joining and finishing metal to make, maintain or repair metal products and structures.

Fabricators may:

  • interpret detailed drawings or specifications to find out job, material and equipment requirements
  • cut, roll, shape, bend, mould, cast, spin, heat or hammer metal products to fabricate parts or sub-assemblies
  • heat treat metal parts and components
  • set up and/or operate hand and machine tools, welding equipment or computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines
  • assemble parts and structures by aligning and joining them by welding, bolting or riveting
  • finish products by cleaning, polishing, filing or bathing them in acid solutions, or by applying protective or decorative coatings.

Areas of employment in the engineering - fabrication sector include:

Structural steel and welding

  • Metal fabricator (boilermaker)
  • Pressure welder
  • Welder (First Class)
  • Sheetmetal worker

Engineering production

  • Foundry worker
  • Tool and die setter
  • Furnace operator
  • Kiln operator

Casting, forging and finishing

  • Blacksmith
  • Electroplater
  • Moulder/coremaker
  • Metal polisher
  • Engineering patternmaker
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Engineering - mechanical

Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and use of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.

The engineering field requires an understanding of core concepts, including physics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, structural analysis, and electricity. Mechanical engineers use these core principles along with tools like computer-aided engineering and product lifecycle management to design and analyse manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics, medical devices, and others.

Areas of employment in the engineering - mechanical sector include:

Mechanical trades

  • Fitter and machinist
  • Machinist trade specialisation
  • Fitter trade specialisation
  • Fitter-welder trade specialisation
  • Toolmaker

Mechanical engineering - professional

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Production/plant engineer
  • Biomedical engineer

Mechanical engineering - technical and drafting

  • Mechanical engineering technician
  • Mechanical engineering draftsperson

Refrigeration/air conditioning

  • Air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic
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Engineering - specialist areas

There are a wide range of specialist areas within the engineering sector. Most of these occupations will require a Bachelor Degree or higher qualification.

Specialist Engineering

  • Engineering manager
  • Chemical engineer
  • Materials engineer
  • Biomedical engineer
  • Engineering technologist
  • Metallurgist
  • Nanotech engineer.


The Australian furnishing sector offers a wide variety of jobs in many different companies, many of which are small, employing under 20 people.

All kinds of furnishings are needed for residential and commercial use. You could work with timber dining suites, sofa beds, mattresses, kitchens, blinds and awnings. Or you could produce furniture for offices and workplaces, such as height adjustable swivel chairs, computer desks, workstations and airport seating.

You might make hotel bedding, conference room seating, restaurant/dining furniture, bar furniture, floor coverings and finishings, or even soft furnishings like curtains.

You will gain skills in jobs such as wood machining, cabinetmaking, picture framing, furniture polishing, furniture designing or upholstering.

This work is hands-on and highly satisfying, and the skills you learn will be useful in many other jobs - or when it's time to renovate your home!

Areas of employment in the furnishing sector include:

Glass and glazing

  • Glazier
  • Glass processor
  • Leadlight worker


  • Interior decorator/designer
  • Furniture designer
  • Kitchen and bathroom designer

Furniture and related furnishing trades

  • Cabinet maker
  • Furniture finisher
  • Picture framer
  • Upholsterer
  • Piano tuner

Furnishing fitting and installation

  • Blinds and awnings maker/installer
  • Security screens and grilles maker/installer
  • Kitchen and bathroom installer
  • Shade sail manufacturer and installer

Timber composites and machining

  • Timber and composites machinist
  • Timber window and door manufacturer
  • Machine programmer and maintenance technician

Floor installation and fitting

  • Floor installer and finisher
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Laboratory operations

Laboratory operations covers a diverse group of technical and scientific occupations located across the whole of industry. In reality, the groups covered include scientific and technical employees involved in a variety of science-based occupations across many industries.

Those working in laboratory operations work in a wide range of enterprises and industry sectors, including:

  • process manufacturing
  • construction materials testing
  • food and beverage processing
  • wine making
  • biotechnology, biomedical research and pathology testing
  • environmental monitoring and technology
  • mining, mineral assay
  • calibration
  • chemical, forensic and environmental analysis
  • education.

Areas of employment within the laboratory operations sector include:

Technicians - Chemistry

  • Laboratory technician
  • Chemical technician

Laboratory operations

  • Laboratory/technical assistant
  • Sampler/tester
  • Technical assistant
  • Technical officer
  • Laboratory supervisor

Technicians - Earth sciences

  • Earth science technician
  • Life science technician
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With Australia's huge coastline, it's no wonder that boating is one of our fastest growing sectors, with more and more recreational and weekend watercraft being built, sold, maintained and enjoyed!

Would you like to design and build motor cruisers, powerboats, ski boats, or runabouts? What about fitting out or maintaining catamarans, yachts, fishing boats, military vessels, ferries or even maxi yachts?

You could work in fibreglass on anything from luxury cruisers to kayaks and canoes. Skills in steel and aluminium could see you building coastal patrol boats or ships. You could also make interior furnishings, electronic systems, deck fittings and a huge variety of components from propellers to boat trailers.

This rapidly growing industry offers a large variety of options, so a career in the Boating Industry would be a great choice. And whatever career you choose, the skills you learn could see you travelling and working all over the world.

Areas of employment within the marine sector include:

Boat building

  • Boat builder/repairer

Marine vessel design

  • Marine vessel designer
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Manufactured mineral products

Minerals are used to make all kinds of products, including stained glass, glass lenses, talcum powder, concrete pipes, lime, paving blocks, bricks and cement.

In mineral products manufacture, you can make window glass for office buildings, or fire resistant glass for houses. You could also create ornate plaster pieces for hotel lobbies, make large pre-fabricated concrete sections for the construction industry, pavers for landscaping, concrete blocks for walls in fashionable natural colours and polished concrete flooring inlaid with coloured stones.

Working in ceramics, you can make floor and wall tiles, the latest tongue and groove bricks, bathroom and kitchen fixtures or a whole range of pottery.

The mineral products sector offers great opportunities for someone who loves variety and enjoys using a combination of skills. The knowledge you gain in one area also gives you the opportunity to move into other areas and industries later on.

Areas of employment within the manufactured mineral products sector include:

Machine operations

  • Clay products machine operator
  • Concrete products machine operator
  • Glass production machine operator
  • Stone processing machine operator

Production support

  • Production assistant
  • Production support operator


  • Process technician
  • Plant technician
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Plastics, rubber and cablemaking

The plastics, rubber and cablemaking sector is a downstream industry to the chemical and petrochemical industry, sourcing both the polymer raw materials (polymer manufacture) and many of the additives from the chemical and petrochemical sectors. Other additives, typically fillers, may be sourced from the ground minerals sector of the manufactured mineral products industry. Its products are used directly in virtually all industries and as components in many consumer products (both durables and consumables).

Typically, the industry is grouped as follows:

  • Product type, such as:
    • tyres - manufacture or retreading
    • conveyor belts - manufacture or repair
    • cable - electrical power or data cables.
  • Material type, such as:
    • composites
    • general rubber
    • specialist polymers.
  • Process type, such as:
    • injection moulding or retreading
    • rotational moulding
    • extrusion.

Areas of employment in the plastics, rubber and cablemaking sector include:

Plastics fabrication or welding

  • Acrylic fabricator
  • Vinyl welder and fabricator

Plastics technical

  • Plastics fitter
  • Plastics mould maker
  • Cablemaker

Production operations

  • Plastic cablemaking machine operator
  • Plastic compounding and reclamation machine operator
  • Plastics production machine operator (general)
  • Reinforced plastic and composite production worker
  • Rubber production machine operator

Production workers

  • Production assistant
  • Operators
  • Senior operators and polymer or plastics technician

Tyre manufacture and repair

  • Tyre builder
  • Tyre retreader/epairer

Rubber belts

  • Belt installer and repairer
  • Belt manufacturer
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Precision trades

Precision trades cover a range of specialist technical work. Jewellery, watches, clocks, safes, master key systems, door and window locks, keys, prescription and contact lenses, spectacles and musical instruments - all of these smaller manufactured items require specialised skills and attention to detail - and often a steady pair of hands!

The precision trades offer opportunities for those wanting to train as jewellers, locksmiths, watch and clock makers, optical mechanics, time technologists and instrument makers. Much of the work is small-scale, intricate, and because one person tends to work on one product from start to finish, very satisfying.

With most of the fine trades and crafts sector self-employed, picking up skills in this area would be a great start to eventually owning your own business.

Areas of employment within the precision trades sector include:


  • Manufacturing jeweller
  • Jewellery designer

Other trades

  • Locksmith
  • Watch and clock maker/repairer
  • Optical mechanic
  • Musical instrument maker/repairer
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Recreational vehicles

Recreational vehicles is the collective term used for caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers and their derivatives. There is a wide variation in recreational vehicles ranging from the simple tent trailer (a box trailer with a tent section that lifts out to make sleeping space) to motor homes which are built on truck chasses and self-contained and extremely comfortable. The manufacturing of recreational vehicles is labour intensive, with delivery times of up to 20 weeks not unusual. Ninety-six per cent of all recreational vehicles sold in Australia are manufactured here. The recreational vehicle sector is one of Australia's fastest growing sectors.

Areas of employment include:


  • Recreational vehicle production worker
  • Recreational vehicle manufacturing supervisor
  • Recreational vehicle manufacturing and maintenance manager

Service and repair

  • Recreational vehicle service and repairer


  • Recreational vehicles and accessories salesperson
  • Recreational vehicles assistant sales managers
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Specialist manufacturing

Every sector of manufacturing needs responsible managers to guide the business processes and systems that ensure the financial success of a manufacturing company.

As you gain experience you might like to move into management, overseeing the work of a team. Whether it is in design, engineering, operations, maintenance, quality assurance or even sales and marketing, all work tasks need to be planned, performed on time, checked and recorded.

To start, you could become a team leader or supervisor, ensuring that deadlines and quality standards are being met. From there you could acquire more qualifications and move into middle or upper level management, training, planning, export, logistics, or human resources and work health and safety. There are also great opportunities to move into management in manufacturing from other industries by bringing your existing management skills with you.

The challenges of 'just in time' production and 'lean manufacturing' encourages continuous innovation and improvement. A career progression into management ensures that you can make a vital contribution to the success of your company.

Specialist occupations within manufacturing fall in to three main areas:


  • Organisation and methods analyst
  • Operations manager

Environmental management

  • Environmental manager
  • Environmental scientist.

Competitive systems and practices

  • Quality assurance manager
  • Management and organisation analyst.
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Textiles, clothing and footwear

The Australian textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF) industry covers a range of sectors that can be described in three broad categories:

  • sectors which process natural and synthetic materials, such as early stage wool processing, cotton ginning, hide, skin and leather
  • production sectors - clothing production, textile production, footwear production, leather goods production and technical textiles
  • service sectors - dry cleaning operations, laundry operations and footwear repair.

Australia's TCF sectors are exciting areas for innovative and creative people who are interested in fashion, fabrics and textiles.

Our reputation in local and international markets is built on the quality of our processed wool, cotton and synthetic fabrics, bed and bath products, carpets and, of course, our designer clothing, adventure wear and shoes. There is also a growing market for technical and non-woven industrial textiles.

There are opportunities in all areas of manufacturing from raw materials processing, synthetic fibre production and textile making through to concept design, patternmaking, manufacturing and promotion. You can learn about millinery, textile testing, or computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), including the latest in design, patternmaking, grading and cutting technology.

The supply chain in textiles and clothing is truly international, so your skills in this area could see you working for global companies or even overseas.

Areas of employment in the textiles, clothing and footwear sector include:

Canvas and leather goods

  • Canvas goods fabricator
  • Leather goods maker
  • Sail maker
  • Shoe maker/repairer

Clothing trades

  • Apparel cutter
  • Clothing patternmaker
  • Dressmaker/tailor
  • Milliner


  • TCF mechanic
  • Sewing machinist/digitised embroiderer
  • TCF operator
  • Cotton ginner

Fashion and textiles design

  • Fashion designer
  • Textile designer
  • Leather goods designer

Laundry operations

  • Laundry worker
  • Dry cleaner
  • Ironer/presser
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Manufacturing Skills Australia