The South Australian manufacturing industry employs 25,600 people, or just over 3.1% of the State’s workforce.

Manufacturers plan, organise and manage the operations of businesses that manufacture goods.

Manufacturing takes place across several industries including the food and beverage processing, building construction, civil construction, metals and engineering industries, as well as the textile, clothing and footwear industry.

Employment opportunities may vary in response to competition from imports and the level of consumer demand for manufactured products.

Most people working in this industry work in a factory or processing plant, but increasingly this work is in high technology facilities.

Most of the jobs are in the metropolitan area but there are also good job prospects in the regions.

Job openings for skilled workers

Production manager


Quick facts about this industry

  • More than 80% of people work full-time.
  • Most people working in the industry do not have a qualification, but if you want to get ahead a qualification is highly recommended.
  • Most people in this industry are men.
  • People are generally younger than those in other industries.
  • To work in this industry you need to be interested in technical and engineering activities, be able to conceptualise and think creatively, and have good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Most production managers earn $2,000 or more per week. Plastics and composites processors earn between $400 and $800 per week, while product quality controllers average between $800 and $1,000 per week.

School options

Ask your Vocational Education Training (VET) Coordinator at school for information about doing vocational education during the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), including the Training Guarantee for SACE (or equivalent) students. Visit the VET section of the SACE website  for training options in:

  • Manufacturing

Vocational qualifications include:

  • Certificate I in Manufacturing (Pathways)
  • Certificates I – IV in Process Manufacturing
  • Certificate III in Surface Preparation and Coating Application
  • Certificate II – Diploma of Recreational Vehicles with specialisations in manufacturing, service and repair and accessories retailing
  • Certificate II qualifications in Clothing and Textile Production, Manufacturing Technology, and Footwear Production
  • Certificates II and III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
  • Certificates II and III in Furniture Finishing
  • Certificate II – Advanced Diploma in Manufactured Mineral Products
  • Certificates II and III in Polymer Processing
  • Certificate III qualifications in Cabinet Making, Picture Framing, Furniture Making, Upholstery, Soft Furnishings and Timber Manufactured Products
  • Certificate IV qualifications in Manufacturing Technology and Custom-made Footwear.

See courses related to this industry.

University disciplines include:

  • Fashion and costume design
  • Industrial design
  • Materials engineering
  • Mechanical and advanced manufacturing engineering
  • Pharmaceutical science
  • Product design
  • Visual arts and crafts

Explore university courses offered in South Australia, including courses from:

 For more information about university courses visit South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) or for information about student satisfaction visit Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT).

Apply to study

For application information for South Australian universities and some TAFE SA courses, visit the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

For subsidised training enrolment information, see Enrolling in subsidised training.

For more information, call the Infoline on 1800 673 097.

Occupations in this industry

Manufacturing is the physical or chemical transformation of materials or components into new products.

South Australian manufacturers develop and produce recycling equipment, packaging products, automotive parts, submarines, agricultural equipment, health and medical devices, defence equipment, consumer electronics, building materials and mining supplies.

Production managers  plan, administer and review the manufacturing activities of an organisation to optimise resource use, minimise costs and maintain quality standards.

Key occupations

Other occupations in this industry include:

Assembler, chemical, gas, petroleum and power generation plant operator, metal press operator, paper and pulp operator, petroleum and gas plant operator, polymer technician, product assembler, metal fitter and machinist or rubber processor.

Related industries for these occupations:

Useful links

Career information has been sourced from government publications. See data sources for more information

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