– Chemical engineering – designing and operating industrial chemical facilities, including in manufacturing and oil and gas
– Electronic or electrical engineering – relating to designing and manufacturing electrical components included in computer hardware and day to day products
– Mechanical engineering – concerned with the function of machines and mechanical equipment
– Materials and mineral engineering – studying and creating materials at an atomic level, for example in nuclear and aerospace functions
– Civil engineering – designing and constructing buildings and infrastructure, such as rail networks, water systems and roads
– Software engineering – designing systems and applications
Professional engineering networks offer a wealth of opportunities, from training talks, forums, networking opportunities and updates on developments in the industry. Joining one can give you a unique insight into what it is like to pursue a career in engineering, and what day to day life as an Engineer might involve. Importantly, it gives you the opportunity to learn from people who have carved a path ahead of you.
Investigate opportunities to learn for free
Many companies offer insight days, work experience and bursary schemes, sponsoring long-term education for prospective employees. Filling your 2019 calendar with events and opportunities to learn is a great way to take positive steps towards your new career.
Engineers week runs in early 2019 from 2nd to 8th March, in Ireland, and in November elsewhere in the UK (2019 dates are yet to be announced); this initiative is particularly useful for those still in eduction, with many schools and colleges running exciting events. The Tomorrow’s Engineer website provides more information and is generally a great place for budding young engineers to find more information and read case studies and biographies.
International Women in Engineering Day will take place on 23 June 2019. The inwed.org.uk website includes information on events taking place to mark the occasion. In 2018 these included talks by female engineers at BAE Systems, a networking evening at BDP, various university open days for girls and women of all ages, an open day at BP, Gala dinners and much more.
Many more opportunities await, hosted by universities, industry bodies and engineering companies alike.
Plan your route
Many engineering careers require extensive undergraduate, and even postgraduate, study, requiring careful planning at an early stage. If you’re lucky enough to be reading this post early on in your education, now is a great time for you to plan which subjects to take to maximise your options. At GCSE level, achieving strong grades in maths and science and, if possible, in IT, are helpful. At A-Level, maths and physics are key to most engineering careers, whilst chemistry is also required for chemical engineering. Completing an engineering degree in your chosen field, and from a good university (see The Times Good University Guide 2019 for guidance) puts you in a great place.
Apprenticeships are a fantastic option for those who don’t want to pursue further eduction, or who may not be able to complete a degree for any number of reasons. Completing an apprenticeship means you can learn on the job, often whilst earning at the same time. Many companies are currently advertising for 2019 engineering apprenticeships, making now a great time for you to take first steps towards a career in engineering.
Looking to transfer to engineering from an existing career? It’s not too late. Many people have made successful transitions to engineering from other careers. Achieving additional qualifications is the best way to do this if possible. Although it might seem daunting, look for ways to lighten the burden of a career change; perhaps your existing employer is able to sponsor your qualification, or you may be able to secure a bursary elsewhere. Check out the profiles on the Tomorrow’s Engineers website, which includes those of career changers.