Glass is a wonderful material and such a big part of our everyday lives, often goes unseen but with its wide and valuable usage – from the well-known of bottles and jars, to the less known of medical devices and powders – it has a valid and thriving future ahead.
In the UK, we are lucky to have a vibrant glass sector with many opportunities across a range of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines as well as health and safety, administration and management.
About the industry
There are 10 large scale glass manufacturers in the UK manufacturing container, flat and glass fibre, with many other types of smaller and specialist manufacturers and those making glass by hand.
Yorkshire – Ardagh, Allied, Beatson Clark, Stoelzle, Saint-Gobain, Guardian
North West – Encirc, Nippon Electric Glass, NSG-Pilkington
Essex – O-I
Scotland – Ardagh, O-I
Northern Ireland – Encirc
We have more information on glass products available here.
The 10 large manufacturers employ around 6,000 people directly and we estimate there are 150,000 more jobs available across the glass supply chain.
Hear firsthand from people currently working in the industry:
Meet Abby, a senior technologist at Glass Technology Services. As part of our careers in glass series, Abby spoke about her role and the opportunities available to others looking for a route into the industry.
Meet Louise – a designer at Stoelzle’s Knottingley manufacturing site – she gets to design a range of glass containers for many spirits brands and loves that she gets to see a project through from start to finish.
Meet Dana – a tool making apprentice at Beatson Clark based in Rotherham. Dana has been with Beatson Clark for over two years and really enjoys the variety of available opportunities.
Meet Andrew – a hot end IS operator at Encirc. Andrew enjoys the work-life balance of his role and says one of the best things about Encirc is that they give young people the opportunity to move into management positions.
Meet Lara – a batch and furnace supervisor at Encirc. Lara has worked at Encirc for five years and her role involves the management of the raw materials and melting activity across their three manufacturing sites.
Meet Maddy - a workshop assistant at Allister Malcolm Glass Ltd. Maddy has worked at Allister Malcolm Glass for over three years and has fallen in love with glass as a material, enjoying the challenges that come with learning new techniques of moulding glass into art.
Meet Allister - a glass artist and business owner at Allister Malcolm Glass Ltd. Allister has been running his business for over 20 years, and advises anyone that is keen in working in glass art to visit the small studios that are dotted around the country.
Meet Beth - customer supply team leader at Pilkington. Beth has been at Pilkington for 5 years, and thinks young people should look into the glass industry due to the quantity and variety of opportunities available, as well as the clear paths of progression.
Meet Jac - improvement manager at Pilkington. Jac has worked at Pilkington for 14 years, and joined the company as an apprentice after finishing school. Jac praises the guidance and mentorship available for apprentices and graduates at Pilkington, and thinks now is a great time to get into the industry as we head towards carbon neutrality.
Across the sector, there are many opportunities in technical (such as process engineer, electrician, environmental officer) and non-technical roles (such as administration, communications and HR). And many of our members offer various opportunities via apprenticeships, work experience and graduate programmes.
To find out what is on offer or available positions, visit our members' websites:
- Ardagh Group
- Allied Glass
- Beatson Clark
- Stoelzle Flaconnage
- Guardian Glass
- Nippon Electric Glass