Nearly 5.7 million employees currently work in engineering enterprises in the UK and the industry is expected to deliver a wealth of further opportunities in the coming years. Forecasts indicate that engineering employers will need to recruit 265,000 skilled entrants annually to meet demand, through to 2024.
The average salary has also been increasing in recent years, standing at £51,253 in 2019, according to The Engineer. This compares very favourably with the comparable UK national average of £36,611.
So, engineering skills are in huge demand nationally and globally, and employers are struggling to find skilled workers to fill their jobs. Now would be a smart time to start training yourself up in an exciting, secure and fast-paced industry.
So, what type of job could you do?
From helping the environment to designing and implementing innovative products, there are a range of careers on offer that might surprise you. Typically, engineering careers can be broken down into the following categories:
- Research and prototype development
- Installation and maintenance
- Safety and quality assurance
We’ve also provided a list of some of the most exciting jobs in engineering and what they’re about – it’s time to get inspired.
This can be broken down into two categories; aeronautical engineers, which deal with spacecraft that fly within the earth’s atmosphere, and astronautical engineers which deal with spacecraft that operate outside of the earth’s atmosphere.
Anything to do with cars, motorbikes, buses and trucks – automotive engineering combines a number of different skills including mechanical, electrical and software engineering.
Bioengineering & biomedical
This involves creating medical equipment such as X-rays, incubators and radiation treatments that help fight cancer – a hugely rewarding area if you like to know you’re helping people.
This is where engineering principles are combined with biological science to create various products such as medicines and biofuels – again, a career that can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
This includes the construction of anything that makes up our environment; buildings, highways, railway bridges and water reservoirs. If you want to be able to see a tangible difference to the world you’re living in, this route may be for you.
From engaging in research for pharmaceutical companies to figuring out how to extend the shelf life of anti-biotics, or being part of an innovation team for new products at a food company – a chemical engineer uses chemical processes to find innovative and creative ways to produce new goods.
As a computer engineer you could be responsible for anything to do with personal computers to computers that control medical equipment such as MRI scanners and X-rays.
Focused on mechanical systems, this is one of the oldest and broadest areas of engineering you can go in to. It can be creating anything from a cool new product to a life-saving piece of machinery.
As an industrial engineer, you would be involved in organising the people, equipment, locations and information needed to ensure large-scale machinery can operate safely.
If you’ve got a soft spot for sparks, this may be the area you’d like to specialise in. Learning about and dealing with large-scale electrical systems, rather than those within the home, is where an electrical engineer would specialise.
If you care about the environment, you could find a hugely rewarding career in environmental engineering. From developing more effective recycling systems to developing air pollution preventative equipment, or figuring out how to get cleaner drinking water, this path provides a number of exciting prospects.
Automation, simulation and robotics
These three are grouped together as they feed into each. Simulation engineering involves building something in a virtual environment so you can test it and anticipate problems. Automation is more about understanding and applying a mixture of hardware and software to produce machinery that limits human work, which leads nicely on to robotics which is all about the design and production of complex robots.
If you are interested in working in one of the most exciting industries on the planet (or in space), one of the best places to start would be The Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology. With the first intake from September 2021, the institute will offer a range of higher-level programmes, including apprenticeships and Upskilling Short Courses. You can view the prospectus here for mobile or desktop.