Measurement and control technicians run and look after the instruments that monitor and control production, manufacturing and other processes. They may also be involved in installing and testing instruments.
They work in a whole range of industries where sophisticated sensors and control systems are needed to make sure products are measured, weighed, manufactured, sorted or packaged correctly and efficiently, or to keep systems operating effectively. These could include:
The 'smart' instruments used by measurement and control technicians detect exactly what is happening in a particular area of operation at any given moment. The equipment is often programmed to carry out any necessary changes and adjustments automatically.
The work of measurement and control technicians can involve:
Technicians may work in electronics engineering teams, usually under the guidance of senior instrument engineers. They also work closely with the people operating the equipment that they are responsible for monitoring.
Measurement and control technicians usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, often on a shift or rota system as they may need to service or repair equipment at any time of the day or night. Evening, weekend and on-call working might be required.
Depending on the type of company they work for, technicians could be based:
Apprentices may start on around £13,000 a year. Qualified technicians can earn between £20,000 and £30,000 a year.
Measurement and control technicians are widely employed in the chemical, food, oil and gas, mining, water, automotive, paper, mechanical and manufacturing industries.
As automated systems and computers are used more and more throughout industry, technicians skilled at using monitoring equipment will continue to be in demand.
There are opportunities throughout the country and abroad. Jobs are advertised in the local press, in trade publications and on the many engineering recruitment website's.
Most young people start as apprentices straight from school or college. It is possible to become an apprentice without formal qualifications, although most companies ask for around four GCSE's (A*- C) including English, maths and science, or equivalent qualifications, to ensure that new starters will be able to cope with the training.
There is a GCSE in engineering and one in manufacturing, and some schools, in partnership with employers, colleges and group training associations, offer a Young Apprenticeship that starts at school at the age of 14. The Diplomas in engineering, and manufacturing and product design may be relevant for this area of work.
The most usual entry route is through an Advanced Apprenticeship leading to a technician-level qualification.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
An alternative route is via a full-time or part-time college course such as a BTEC qualification leading to:
Some technicians have degrees in engineering with technology management. Entry to a degree course is usually with at least two A levels and five GCSE's (A*- C), or equivalent qualifications. Others have Higher National Diplomas/Certificates (HND's/HNC's) for which the requirements are a minimum of one A level or a BTEC National Certificate/Diploma in a relevant subject, or equivalent qualifications.
Adults may be able to train as measurement and control technicians if they have experience in electronics, manufacturing or engineering.
Young people who join as apprentices follow a planned schedule of training, combining academic study with work-based experience which leads to:
Students who start by taking a two-year HND could extend this to a three-year degree or a four-year sandwich degree, by continuing on a BEng engineering with technology management or similar course. An optional placement year in industry is usually available before the final year.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
Measurement and control technicians need:
Some Apprenticeships lead directly to engineering technician registration by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the qualification of EngTech. To achieve this technicians must register formally with the Engineering Council as an engineering technician and will need:
The Institute of Measurement and Control also accredits training courses that lead to membership at engineering technician (EngTech) level.
It may also be possible to go on to incorporated engineer level, and then to chartered engineer status.
Experienced technicians could move into positions in design, sales, and management and consultancy.
Engineering Council UK,
246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
The Institute of Measurement and Control,
87 Gower Street, London WC1E 6AF
Tel: 020 7387 4949
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET),
Michael Faraday House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage SG1 2AY
Tel: 01438 313311
The Manufacturing Institute,
Warren Bruce Court, Warren Bruce Road,
Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1LB
Tel: 0161 875 2525
SEMTA (Sector Skills Council for Science,
Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies),
14 Upton Road, Watford WD18 0JT
Tel: 01923 238441
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.