Careers Service Occupations

Engineering

Engineering

About

There is great demand for graduates with engineering skills due to a skills shortage in this sector.

Careers advice

Industry news

Engineering Magazine and The Engineer both cover the sector. 

Eureka is a design engineering magazine, which includes news, features and events.

tce today contains the latest chemical engineering news and jobs.

Electronics Weekly and Electrical Review cover technology engineering.

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. 

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them and sector skills bodies on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

Professional associations/institutes

The Engineering Council is a good place to start, and has a directory of all Professional Engineering Institutions in the UK.

The Royal Academy of Engineering includes schemes for students and information on scholarships and funding for further study.

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has a careers advice and graduate section. See also IChemE On Campus.

The International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA) represents automotive societies in 38 countries.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) includes an education and careers section.

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) also includes a careers section.

You can also look at IMechE, which has events and news.

Other professional associations include:

Research councils

These include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Government agencies, public bodies and not-for-profit organisations

Sector skills councils/industry associations

Specialist groups

Specialist groups include the Women's Engineering Society (WES) and EBME, an online medical engineering community.

Making contacts

Talk to people working in the sector to get an insight into the roles found in engineering. It can be useful for networking and making speculative applications. 

You could start with:

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. 

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. Regular events for this sector include Employer Presentations and Recruitment Fairs

There is also RAS: Careers in Aerospace LIVE, an annual recruitment event in November.

For more events for this sector, see External Events

Take-away resources available in the Careers Service

  • TARGETjobs: Engineering 2016
  • Careers in Science, Engineering & Technology by Gradcracker
  • Engineering Careers by Findlay Media
  • Entrypark: Science, Tech & Engineering by Entrypark

Related sectors

You may also be interested in:

Or see our other occupational pages for more options.

Roles & Skills

There are opportunities for engineers in a wide range of industries, from aerospace and automotive to chemical and marine.

You could work in roles such as design, research and development, production or maintenance.

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.

Aeronautical engineer

Aerospace engineer

Automotive engineer

Motorsport engineer

Biomedical engineer

Clinical engineer

Chemical engineer

Communications engineer

Design engineer

Electrical engineer

Electronics engineer

Telecommunications researcher

Marine engineer

Naval architect

Materials engineer

Materials specialist

Packaging technologist

Mechanical engineer

Technical sales engineer

Skills employers look for

Employers in this sector look for skills including:

  • excellent problem-solving, maths and IT skills
  • strong technical knowledge and proficiency in specialist software, such as computer aided design (CAD)
  • good communication skills and the ability to convey complex information to non-technical colleagues
  • the ability to plan, prioritise and manage projects effectively
  • a commitment to keeping up to date with new developments
  • leadership skills and the ability to work in multi-disciplinary teams

Gaining Experience

Graduate employers in the engineering sector look for candidates who can offer a strong set of skills, preferably with work experience, in addition to academic qualifications.

Most large engineering companies advertise summer or year-long placements early in the first semester. These are usually aimed at undergraduates in and above their second year of study.

Work experience with smaller companies is not always advertised. You may need to contact the employer with a speculative approach.

Professional bodies and research councils also advertise opportunities. See About for a list of organisations.

Read TARGETjobs' beginner's guide to Engineering work experience and their article on what to do if you can't get experience over summer.

Internships and placements

You can use TARGETjobs to search a list of companies offering internships and placements.

IAESTE offer eight to 12-week technical summer placements overseas, which are open to postgraduates and undergraduates in second year of study and above. 

RISE offer a summer internship program for undergraduate science or engineering students to carry out research in Germany.

Finding companies

You can search for local companies who may offer work experience in the North East Graduate Directory.

The following directories list companies in the engineering sector across the UK:

Professional bodies often have directories of member firms. See About for links to them.

Other ways to gain experience

If you're struggling to find formal work experience, you can:

Finding Jobs

Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Professional bodies and research councils advertise graduate positions. See About for a list of organisations.

For further sources of vacancies in universities and research institutions, see Research in Academia

There are opportunities to work overseas as an engineer. For example, the Australian Government offers a skilled-recognised graduate visa. This enables engineering graduates to gain up to 18 months of skilled work experience.

To find further global opportunities, see International Jobs.

Vacancy sites (general)

STEM graduates is a recruitment website specialising in science, technology, engineering and maths.

You can use Qreer.com to look for graduate and postgraduate engineering vacancies across Europe.

The following are also useful sites:

And:

Engineering & Technology Jobs offers graduate vacancies from the IET, including an employer A-Z.

aerosocietyjobs.com is a recruitment site from the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) offer a graduate placement scheme, and Autosport.com has vacancies in Formula 1 and motorsport engineering.

You can also look at emedcareers: engineering and NHS Jobs.

Specialist recruitment agencies

In the North East

UK and worldwide

Finding companies

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.

Find companies that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. 

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Try the following sites to find companies to approach:

And:

Scholarships, Awards & Competitions

Gaining engineering scholarships and awards and taking part in competitions can enhance your career opportunities in this sector.

Scholarships and awards

The IMechE offers a range of scholarships and awards for undergraduate and postgraduate study, overseas work placements and professional development.

The Royal Academy of Engineering offers Engineering Leaders Scholarships to undergraduate engineering students.

The UKNEST Scholarship offers £3,000 undergraduate scholarships for first, second and third year naval engineering, science and technology students.

You can also look at:

Competitions

Formula Student challenges engineering students to design, build and develop a single seater racing car for competition.

Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award offers the chance to win work experience with a leading automotive company and a £9,000 cash prize.

TARGETjobs has a competition for the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year.

Engineering YES is a business plan competition for postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers, with cash prizes worth more than £2,000.