Five Australian Manufacturing Career Paths
As reported previously, the Australian Government last year recognised Romar Engineering’s advanced manufacturing capability for the aerospace sector with a $5.8 million grant under its Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).
The program to award leading local manufacturers is part of a wider government strategy to drive innovative, sustainable and globally competitive Australian manufacturing.
Coupled with this increased federal focus, Western Sydney is set to become an innovation hub with developments including the Advanced Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF), currently under construction at the new Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
This activity is good news for the industry and for those looking to build a career in Australian manufacturing, with perhaps more career pathways than ever before. Here are just five of them.
Advanced manufacturing utilises cutting-edge methods, materials and technology including robotics and additive manufacturing. We utilise techniques such as 3D printing in prototyping and materials analysis with applications including medical device manufacturing and mission-critical components for aerospace and defence.
The sector is growing significantly in Australia, providing niche manufacturing opportunities.
At Romar, our growing team includes Bau Nguyen, who works on modelling, simulations and 3D printing using our Lasertec 65, and who moved into additive manufacturing after studying both materials engineering and mechanical engineering.
Steve Milanoski, Romar’s Head of Advanced Manufacturing, sees huge potential for Australian advanced manufacturing. A materials and additive engineer, formerly with Space X, Steve was drawn to Romar thanks to our wide-ranging capability and our Australian-only additive technology.
“We’re the only manufacturer in Australia with a proper hybrid platform, and it was the machine I used at SpaceX. Australia is a bit behind in the adoption of additive technologies, but here at Romar, we’re trying to expedite that. Australia has a real opportunity not to be an early adopter, but to be a leapfrog adopter and make a mark globally.”
Quality assurance (QA) professionals oversee quality systems and certification processes, which are critically important in particular for highly-regulated manufacturing sectors such as medical and aerospace.
QA managers ensure products comply with regulatory standards for prototyping and commercial manufacture by developing and implementing strategies to monitor accuracy and quality across all manufacturing processes. Examples of career pathways include quality control engineers, instrumentation technicians and quality assurance testers.
Sofie Tran, Romar’s Quality Control Manager, developed her career after joining a manufacturer and then transitioning into document control.
“My background is in quality control for medical device manufacturing,” she says. “I started working for a manufacturer and saw they had a document control role, which interested me. I worked in document control for about six years, before they moved me up to Quality Associate and then Document Manager.”
Materials engineers typically investigate the properties of metals, polymers and other materials to assess their suitability for commercial manufacture projects by ensuring they meet specific performance criteria.
Romar Materials Scientist Daniel Sprodd moved into materials engineering after completing a diploma in chemistry. He spent more than two decades designing tooling for another manufacturer, before joining Romar.
His role now involves designing molding tools using CAD plus technical development – analysing and testing materials to develop manufacturing solutions that meet customer project aims, budgets and regulatory requirements.
“The variety is great. Some days you go down and do some physical work in the workshop and other days you can sit at your computer and design. It’s good to have a bit of diversity.”
Programming and IT
Software and programming engineers design, develop, install, test and monitor software systems to ensure seamless and efficient operational processes.
This extends from coding and implementation through to troubleshooting and staff training.
With the uptake in Industry 4.0 manufacturing and advanced manufacturing techniques, it’s central to operational and manufacturing processes, with both the integration of data-collecting software into production machinery and the installation of efficiency software to streamline reporting and other areas.
Sean Emery, Romar’s System Integration Engineer, first began studying electrical engineering before finding his niche in mechanical engineering – and at Romar.
“We’re making changes to find the optimal way of doing things,” explains Sean. “When we integrate software to talk to our traditional molding machines, for instance, it can help us gather data to ultimately make smarter business decisions.”
Manufacturing engineers and production managers oversee manufacturing and operational processes to ensure the efficient delivery of commercial manufacturing projects.
This can include implementation and monitoring of production strategies, production output, project costs, material supply and logistics.
Rita Nicolas is Romar’s Manufacturing Manager, overseeing manufacturing operations at multiple Romar facilities. She completed a biomedical engineering degree and a materials degree and joined us after graduation via an internship. Several of our manufacturing engineers, with degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering and science, also completed internships with us.
The internship pathway
Our team is equally diverse, including biomedical engineers, injection molding engineers and Clean Room engineers. Every manufacturer also needs business managers, including the CEO, finance manager and business development executive.
One of the best ways to find out more about Australian manufacturing careers is with an internship, which introduces you to diverse manufacturing departments and lets you work with industry leaders – and we’re always on the lookout for bright university students to join our internship program.
“My advice is to go, dip your toe in and see if you like it, and don’t be afraid to get pushed in a certain direction to try it,” says Rita. “The field is so large, that if you do find something you’re interested in, there is a path for you.”
Please contact us if you’re interested in joining the leader in Australian manufacturing.