Career as a production technician

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Adrian Young is a production technician. He assembles laser equipment for use in automotive, aerospace, packing and the electronics industries. Lasers are also used in a wide variety of applications involving the cutting, drilling, welding and marking of plastics, metal, fabrics and ceramics.

Can you describe your work as a production technician?

We design and manufacture laser systems. The main constituent parts of these are the laser tube, RF amplifier and DC power supply. I work in the RF amplifier build section.

What is an RF amplifier?

Radio frequency amplifiers are used to provide power to drive our lasers, a bit like your hi-fi amplifier at home driving your speakers, but with a lot more power. My job is to assemble and solder printed circuit boards, and then assemble and wire complete RF amplifiers.

Do you have a typical day?

My typical day involves the final assembly of RF amplifiers, but there is some variety in terms of different versions, and I also get involved with any day-to-day quality issues that may arise.

What equipment do you use?

I have a workbench and use soldering irons, general hand tools such as pliers and cutters, and specific jigs and fixtures for the particular job that I am doing.

What was your route a career as a production technician?

After leaving school, I went to college and obtained City & Guilds NVQs at Level 2 in Electronics Servicing and in Performing Manufacturing Operations. College friends let me know that there was a vacancy here, so I applied and got the job.

Why did you choose this type of work?

I have always been practical and enjoyed making things and working with my hands. I enjoy working with electronics. What training have you received? My practical training has been done on the job, where I was trained by the supervisor.

What hours do you work?

I work from 8.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday, with a half-hour lunch break.

What do you enjoy best about your production technician job?

I like the people that I work with, and I enjoy the open working environment and the variety of work that I am doing.

Are there any disadvantages to your job?

No, my only problem is the distance I have to travel to work, which is approximately 25 miles each way.

What skills and qualities do you need to become a production technician?

At my present level you need moderate electronic knowledge, such as resistor values and general terminology, in addition to good soldering ability. You need to be someone who takes care and pays attention to detail. It also helps to have good communication skills.

What are your long-term career goals?

I intend to remain in laser manufacture and gain more skills and knowledge. It is developing technology where I feel I can play an active and useful role.

Adrian's route to his career as a production technician

  • GCSEs.
  • NVQ Level 2 in Electronics Servicing.
  • NVQ Level 2 in Performing Manufacturing Operations.

Adrian's production technician tips

  • Get a recognised qualification.
  • Acquire good communication skills, get on with colleagues, listen but put your point of view across.
  • Be genuinely interested in what you are doing, be enthusiastic.

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Salary of a production technician

  • Electronics assemblers may start on around £10,000.
  • With experience they may earn about £15,000.
  • Assemblers with specialist experience may receive as much as £20,000.
  • Overtime and shift work payments can supplement these figures.

Career as a production technician

  • There are no formal entry requirements, although GCSEs/S grades (A-E/1-5) in English, maths and science, in addition to practical subjects like manufacturing and engineering, may be useful.
  • Employers look for candidates who are good at working with their hands, pay attention to detail and are reliable. On-the-job training and the opportunity to study for NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Electronics is normally provided.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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