Jobs and Careers Autumn 2017 - 219

FOCUS ON

ENGINEERING

Civil and structural engineering
Civil engineers help plan and manage
construction projects. Often they work
on public infrastructure schemes
to improve road, rail, water and
energy networks. But they can also
have a crucial role to play on private
house- and office-building jobs.
Structural engineers also work in
the construction industry, ensuring
the built environment is safe and
sturdy. Both roles involve drawing
up and understanding physical and
virtual blueprints, and communicating
problems and solutions to
others involved in a project.
What qualifications do I need?
To become a chartered structural or
civil engineer, you would normally
need an accredited engineering
degree followed by a significant
period of industry experience and
professional training. However,
you don't have to become chartered
and there are solid routes into
these roles through apprenticeships
and local training courses.
How much can I earn? Starting
salaries begin at around £20,000 but
that can double with training and
experience, and double again with
chartered status and senior roles.
Opportunities exist to work overseas,
which can be even more lucrative.

Words: Greg Pitcher. Photography: Shutterstock

Electrical engineering
As an electrical engineer you would
help design, develop and maintain
electrical systems in buildings
and vehicles as well as in rail and
power networks. You'd be likely
to work in a multi-disciplinary
project team, and you may carry
out feasibility studies, draw up
plans, budgets and programmes,
and test components. You could
well work with engineers from other
specialities on a common project.
What qualifications do I need?
You often need a foundation degree,
higher national certificate or diploma,
bachelor's or master's in electrical
or electronic engineering to break
into this specialist field. However,
some related university courses
cover electronics to a suitable level
of detail. You can also go down the

vocational route, starting as an
electrical technician apprentice and
continuing your training from there.
How much can I earn? Newly
trained electrical engineers can earn
around £25,000 a year and expect this
to rise to £40,000. Senior electrical
engineers can earn closer to £60,000
per year and of course pay will vary
according to what is expected from a
role and the success of a company.

Mechanical engineering
If you like planes, trains and
automobiles, mechanical engineering
could be for you. These engineers
are prominent in the design of car
and aerospace engines, railway
locomotives, wind turbines,
nuclear power plants, artificial
limbs and pretty much any
manufactured item that moves.
Day-to-day tasks can include
research, testing, presenting and
analysing data. You might be in the
office running through a spreadsheet of
test results one day, then out looking
at a problem in a factory or other
real-world environment the next.
What qualifications do I need?
A degree in an engineering subject
is a good start, and maths and
physics are strong subjects to get
you on to university courses. There
are always other ways though,
including advanced apprenticeships
and foundation degrees, both of
which involve on-the-job learning.
How much can I earn? Mechanical
engineers earn about £45,000
on average, but of course salaries
vary depending on experience
and other factors. When you look
at forecast skills shortages in
the profession, it is likely that all
engineering salaries will go up.

FIND OUT MORE
Engineering UK
engineeringuk.com
Go Construct
goconstruct.org
National Careers Service
nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
Tomorrow's Engineers
tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

J O B S & C A R E E R S /// 2 1 9

216 J&C JC17 Engineering jw.indd 219

17/11/2017 20:39


http://www.engineeringuk.com http://www.goconstruct.org http://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk http://tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

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