The engineering field is a challenging sector. Not just that though. As technology changes, so too do you. You grow your career as the industry evolves with new technology.
As you’ll probably know already, technology is the way of the future. It’s been around for a while now, and it continues to revolutionise the world we live in.
To become an engineer, you need to be interested in how things work. That interest will let you enjoy the stuff you learn, on all the different projects you could be working. Regardless of the sector you become an engineer in.
That’s the beauty of a career in engineering. It gives you transferrable skills that you can use to transition into any other industry your interests take you in.
Those are skills that every employer needs but in every engineering trade, there’s an absolute necessity for every single employer.
Especially right now. A study back in 2010 by SEMTA, showed the future employment statistics for engineers were one of the most prominent. It’s a field that covers everything from biochemical engineering, to structural engineering.
To keep up with industry demands, it was estimated to be around 30’000 new engineers that would be required to sustain industry demands. That’s a lot of jobs, therefore it’s an industry where you’re far less likely to find yourself unemployed.
As long as you’re in good health, have a good work attitude and a willingness to learn, you can find yourself with an extremely enjoyable career as an engineer.
Nothing stays the same. Not even your training. You’ll face new challenges, and you’ll learn new skills continually throughout your career.
On top of that, you get the benefit of really standing out from the crowd, as when you become an engineer, you’re going to be among the UKs most skilled and prominent work forces.
You get the utmost career satisfaction, provided you’re cut out for the job.
To enjoy the benefits you need to get educated with the right skills to join the engineering pros.
What training do you need to become an engineer?
The training is going to be demanding and it’s something you need to think about as early as possible. When you get your GCSEs would be the best time to think about what training you’re going to need.
There’s a couple of ways you can get the education required.
You can get a A level degrees to enter the engineering sector of your choice
You can go the vocational route, gaining qualifications through apprenticeships
It is important you think about your career route early on though. If you’re going to study towards a degree, then entry requirements will usually require A levels in both physics and mathematics.
Most top universities are going to be looking for a minimum of 3 A levels in sciences. Mathematics is categorised under science. Therefore, A levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, should stand you in good stead to get enrolled onto a university course, to study towards whatever degree you’re interested in achieving.
For the specific type of engineer you want to become, it’s advisable that you do your research prior to enrolling in further education.
As there is a magnitude of different types of engineering careers, such as vehicle engineering, civil engineering, or electrical engineering, there’s going to be different entry requirements for each university course.
When you’re researching, try to find out as much as you can about the university courses on offer, and the entry requirements to get onto the course. Each one will be different, dependent on the field you’re going to be studying.
By identifying early on, what your field of engineering will be, you can map out a training route to help you reach your career goals.
Should you choose the apprenticeship route to study, then you’re going to need to start your search as soon as possible.
Apprenticeships are usually advertised at the start of the year. They’ll be found in the local press and industry related magazines, as well as online jobsites, social media, specialist apprentice sites, and a firms own website.
Keep your eyes and ears open constantly for opportunities arising. The earlier you get your application in the better.
There’s also some apps available for Smartphones, that let you get instant updates when suitable apprenticeships are advertised.
Another way you can find out about training schemes is through a direct approach and pick up the phone. Get in contact with engineering companies you feel could help give you entry into the profession.
Participate in group discussions using forums directly related to your field of interest. Hang out with the people in the know, and they’ll let you know.
For some larger companies, you may find that there’s a waiting list to join their apprenticeship scheme. If that is the case, then it is advisable to seek some careers advice for studies you can enrol to enhance your chances of being accepted onto an apprenticeship training scheme.
When you become an engineer, you’re only at the very beginning of a real professional career, with extensive opportunities for career progression.
The engineering job roles you do will correspond with your qualifications, dependent on which type of engineer training you chose to undertake.
If you chose to study aviation engineering, then you’d be suitable for jobs with companies such as BAE, (British Aerospace) or any other flight component manufacturer. You could also be working in a testing role of different parts involved in aviation manufacturing.
The same would apply if you were to study civil engineering. You wouldn’t be working within aviation, as your training would be specifically related to the construction industry.
That’s why you should give careful thought to your career before you undertake training, as it will affect the jobs your suitable to do.
The added advantage is that with career progression, the sky really is the limit. It’s not unknown for someone to start their career as an engineer and make it to the top position with a seat on the board of directors. Maybe even the director of an engineering firm.
The reason for this is that every engineer job you do requires you to use your transferrable skills. The more experience you get on the job, the more you learn. You’re constantly learning and that’s something any engineer will tell you is a fun aspect of the job.
No matter what engineering job you do, you get to learn new things, try out new stuff, and solve any problems that arise on any assignment you’re working on.
You’ll be solving problems constantly. Thinking on the spot, communicating with others involved in your project, managing projects, and seeing them through to completion, while meeting deadlines.
These are skills that transfer into the corporate world of any industry. Having an engineering degree is definitely beneficial if you’re focused on climbing the career ladder.
If you’re only focused on working directly at an engineering capacity, and not too fussed about getting into the corporate side of things, then just keeping your knowledge fresh will be all you’ll need to do, to keep your talents brushed up with the latest technology.
Something that happens frequently is a shift in the engineering jobs you do. One job could see you working in the aviation field, while the next career move could see you working with Mercedes, in an F1 factory, working on the aerodynamics of their next Formula 1TM carto take to the tracks.
It’s a career with diversity as different types of engineering jobs can be applicable to different sectors, where you can switch between them.
Another crossover could be for someone trained in mechanical engineering. One job could see them responsible for the safe and efficient running of offshore rigs. Working closely with technical designers and safety inspectors. The mechanical engineer could be responsible for the power generation, which could give them experience in working with jet engines. Something that can gain transferrable skills through work experience. That would then create an opportunity to move into either manufacturing engineering, or perhaps the green energy-engineering sector. Using the work experience, and new knowledge to apply the same type of mechanics to generate power through wind turbines.
The training you do to become an engineer, only starts you out in that line of work you choose to study in. When you get your first job, that’s when your continued learning starts. You learn new skills continuously, and each one can transfer from one job to the next.
If you’ve gained an engineering degree as part of your career progression, or for entry into the field, you’re going to have even more diversity at your fingertips.
With a degree in engineering, your skills are not only suited to any role in the engineering sector, but because of the diversity of your skills, you can pretty much use the degree in any profession.
The degree and work experience combined show that you excel at problem solving. You can work to deadlines, follow and manage projects, work as a team, and communicate with others.
Every business needs these skills in their staff. More so at the top of the chain, for making tough and rational decisions, in a justifiable manner. That’s where your problem analysis and solving abilities are of assistance.
Whatever engineering job you take on, it’s only the beginning of a highly rewarding career. In the profession, you can switch sectors, learn new skills, face challenges, and conquer them as they arise. It has diversity, it has challenges, and it has rewards. Any engineering job gives a high degree of job satisfaction.
That’s what you need in a career. If you find yourself getting bored in one job, move on through your career progression and find a more challenging job role. You’ll have the skills and qualifications to do whatever you want to with your career.
There are also international opportunities as the qualifications are recognised worldwide.