You only need to tap the words ‘Engineering’ and ‘Career’ into Google to realise the size and strength of the engineering industry. While you may think roles just include the typical areas like civil engineering, mechanical engineering and electronic engineering, you’d be surprised at some of the other specialisms that you could go into and some of the areas of crossover.
Many find jobs based on their degree, but it’s becoming increasingly common for engineers to complete a master’s degree. Chartered engineers will need a masters or be able to demonstrate that they have gained the necessary knowledge from work experience. If you’re considering teaching at university level, a PhD is usually required. The ideal candidate will have a good balance between academic success and relevant work experience.
Role of an institution
To begin with, membership of an engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council UK (ECUK) is a first step to securing your professional standing in a variety of ways. According to the ECUK, registering with them as a Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer or Engineering Technician brings the following benefits:
- It identifies you as having competences that employers value
- It indicates that your competence, and your commitment to professionalism, have been assessed by other engineering professionals
- It demonstrates that your competence may be compared with standards applicable in other parts of the world
- It confirms that your commitment to professionalism is underwritten by the support of a national engineering institution or society licensed by the Engineering Council UK
This in turn can help with work, pay, promotion, gaining respect and keeping abreast of new developments in the industry. There are 35 engineering bodies accredited by the ECUK. For more information visit www.engc.org.uk.
Depending on the route you take in to engineering you can achieve the status of Engineering Technician, Incorporated Engineer or Chartered Engineer. In general terms, chartered status is normally achieved through the academic route but it can also be achieved by progressing through the various states of accreditation. Institutions like the IET can offer more advice on this.
Other valuable sources of information and advice are recruitment exhibitions. This is a great opportunity to meet potential employers face to face, learn more about the industry and specific companies, as well as getting yourself noticed.
The National Engineering and Construction Recruitment Exhibition is the largest event of its kind in the UK, offering invaluable careers advice and vacancies for all engineering and construction professionals, from recent graduate positions to high level skilled professionals.
Graduates with more rounded skill sets, such as strong communication skills and team working skills will find their employability increase. Employers want to see candidates who have more than the obvious engineering skills of an investigative mind and problem solving capabilities. They also want to see computer software and organisational skills.
Those with project management skills or languages are in great demand; recent news reports show employers have spoken out about their need for candidates who show and understanding of the language of business awareness, or have foreign language skills to enable work on international projects.
IET Working for you
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is one of the world’s leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community
Students and professionals at the start of their engineering and technology careers are given recognition and support via awards which include undergraduate and postgraduate engineering and IT scholarships to provide financial support for students.
Key articles for engineering graduates