Manufacturing industry needs your help. Companies that make things are always on
the lookout for fresh talent and new recruits. But most young people and their teachers
have no clear idea what working in manufacturing industry is like.
Many articles on manufacturing, and the career opportunities it offers, as well as
a smaller number of video and audio recordings, can be found online. Most are not
Take a look for example at this webpage on apprentices. How could that be improved?
Now have a look at an online video about textiles. (Choose Products 1 at the left
and click on Wool near the bottom. Fast forward to the 5 minute mark, (you might
need to hit the pause button to get fast forward to appear), press the play button
and watch for half a minute.)
How cool does that look?
Now watch another minute or so of the video after things start moving faster (around
7 minutes). This is interesting and tells us a lot about how raw materials become
finished products. There is plenty of good stuff about fast, impressive machines.
But what is missing from the whole thing?
Take a look at how Lego bricks are made if you’re not sure. Watch the animation and
see if you can spot the one place, among all the robots and automated machinery,
where the work of a real, live human gets a mention.
So here’s the puzzle. Among all this fast-action manufacturing, with its sophisticated
machines and gleaming new products
Where are all the people?
In that question - and the fact that the answer is not clear to anyone who doesn’t
already work in manufacturing - lies one of the industry’s biggest problems. Even
resources that are meant to show manufacturing industry often do no such thing. They
show how goods are made by very clever, incredibly fast but largely incomprehensible
They don’t show us what people do all day while the smart machines are making the
shiny objects we all want to buy. We get no feeling for a day in the life of a machine
operator, a manufacturing engineer, a designer, a production manager, a sales executive.
So this is the challenge:: You will give manufacturing industry a helping hand to
get its message across, by showing where the people are, what they do and how they
feel about the important and often enjoyable work they perform.
Here is a good exampleof what can be done to make the story of manufacturing more
about ordinary people and less about extraordinary machines. [Select any of the Rolls-Royce
apprentices to hear his or her story. When a new page opens click on the image to
play the recording.]
Your mission then, should you choose to accept it, is to find and demonstrate the
human face of manufacturing. This will be a bit more difficult for you than for the
young Rolls-Royce apprentices. They’ve been there; you haven’t - not yet anyway.
So to get this assignment done you are going to need a few facts, a fair bit of imagination
and a whole lot of teamwork.
If you are ready to Make it in Scotland, your group can choose to tackle one of two
Methods and philosophy: Make it in Scotland lessons are designed to be fundamentally
inclusive. To this end they employ some of the simpler structures of cooperative
The majority of resources on the Make it in Scotland website are addressed directly
to students. This gives teachers the flexibility to choose which sections will be
spoken by them and which will be read by the students.
The section on cooperative learning, however, is addressed entirely to teachers,
as are occasional notes such as this, whose Back button returns a reader to the main
We can’t really see what the apprentices are doing or what their workplace looks
like, and there seem to be no young women working there. Back