Engineering Your Career
Think you know all about careers in engineering? Think again, the possibilities in the industry are as endless as an English winter. Anne Hollowday examines some of the different options available
Have you ever wondered how the products and systems that support everyday existence came into being? On an average walk to university, you’ll probably walk over a bridge; contend with a major traffic interchange; see numerous vehicles on the roads; planes in the sky, or perhaps use a mobile telephone or portable music device. All of these products and systems are the results of engineering. These unseen figures practically sculpt the way our society lives with their ingenious solutions. Without them, we’d be stuck in the dark ages of horse-drawn carts and wooden rowing boats, with letters as the only form of communication. Thank goodness for engineers, without whom the likes of Facebook, iPods, cars and make-up would be an unobtainable fantasy. Engineering is today synonymous with technological and scientific advancements.
However, this barely scratches the surface of possibilities for careers in engineering. The sector is teeming with a plentiful array of opportunities for both engineering and non-engineering graduates. It is an industry in continuous flux. With new technological and scientific advancements occurring all the time, the employment possibilities are seemingly endless. An engineering career is also a passport to travel the globe. All over the world, engineers are in demand. Whether it’s leading a renewable energy project in China or managing the development of a new junction on an American highway, engineering will be your ticket.
Despite these perks and other initiatives that specifically target them, the figure for women studying engineering-based courses remains at around 15%. Women are underrepresented in the profession, and as such can command greater bursaries and benefits. BT has launched a £200k campaign to attract more female apprentice engineers and bursaries for female undergraduates are available from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) based in London. Societies such as: WISE (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction) and WES (The Women’s Engineering Society), raise awareness. They encourage schoolgirls to value and pursue SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) and to further promote the training and practice of engineering among women.
Working as an engineer is not traditionally viewed as a glamorous job. Yet, the diverse sector boasts much more than the torn overalls and dirty fingernails with which most people equate the role. Streams into management and leadership can be office-based and many of the disciplines within engineering offer an alternative to grease.
The way the industry works allows most individuals the immense satisfaction of seeing a project through every stage of production – from concept and design to manufacture and improvement. Jobs are extremely lucrative. Competitive graduate salaries are £19-£28k. And interns can expect to receive pay for their efforts. Many summer vacation schemes offer £14-£19k pro rata. The scope for career development is also huge. Almost every graduate scheme offers a clear career progression path, which incorporates opportunities for promotion. Moreover, the schemes feature on-the-job training towards chartered engineer status. The graduate programmes provide unabridged, comprehensive routes to a career in engineering.
The beauty of engineering is that there is no definitive number of roles available because alternatives are being created as projects and solutions are devised. A career in engineering ultimately translates to living your life in the front seat. For more information about careers in engineering take a look at our case studies…