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Helping you find a career in engineering & manufacturing
The engineering and manufacturing industry is vital to our society. It has a part to play in most things we use in our everyday lives, from transport to smart phones.
Engineering uses maths and science (physics in particular) and can be creative, practical and problem solving in nature. You could be part of a team that develops the next big thing in technology, or simply improve something we already have.
Whilst there's a large amount of crossover between engineering and manufacturing, there's a distinct difference: engineering uses planning, theory and design to create a solution. Manufacturing utilises raw materials and machines to create the physical item, such as food, drink, clothing, plastics, vehicles and pharmaceuticals.
Skills required for a career in the Engineering & manufacturing industry
Employers want people with practical and technical experience as well as theoretical knowledge, so push forward the skills you've learnt during your placement year or whilst on work experience.
Employers want team players and good communicators, not just someone who knows their way around an engineering manual. Other skills you'll definitely need include:
Typical Engineering & manufacturing career progression routes
As a graduate you're likely to start your career on the technical side, learning about the business and technical aspects of the role, before gradually taking on more responsibility and moving into a more senior role that might allow you to manage your own clients and projects.
You could move into management later on, giving a greater input to the strategic drive and implementation of projects. You will need to become chartered to reach this stage if you work in engineering.
Typical Career Development for the Engineering & manufacturing industry
The Engineering Council outlines how you can become a Chartered (CEng) or Incorporated (IEng) Engineer. This means you'll be professionally registered and have enough skills to practice as an engineer.
You'll have to gather evidence of your work and skills and present it to a professional body to gain chartered or incorporated status. You might also need to have an interview, write an essay or take an exam.
Those working in manufacturing can solidify their skills with professional qualifications of certificates, like the Certified Manufacturing Practitioner award from the Institute of Manufacturing. There are multiple certificates, awards and diplomas available, depending on which area of the industry you work in.
How much do Engineering & manufacturing professionals get paid?
Engineers can earn a decent salary right from the start, due to their in-demand skills and the massive value they have in society. Pay increases with experience, and will grow further once you're managing projects or managing a team.
Once you're professionally registered, you're likely to earn more. Chartered engineers command the highest salaries, followed by incorporated engineers.
Here are some average salaries for engineering jobs, according to Payscale:
What qualifications do I need for a Engineering & manufacturing career
It's very helpful to have an engineering degree (BEng). Physics is also useful, although you might have to follow this up with an engineering masters in order to get the skills and knowledge you need.
Ideally, your degree will be accredited by the Engineering Council, which should entitle you to Chartered or Incorporated status. You can find out more here.
You can also move into manufacturing with an engineering degree, or into less scientific areas within the sector like management if your degree is in another subject.
How to get there
You're free to apply for entry level engineering roles with a bachelors or masters degree, although having a masters will certainly give you a stronger chance of being successful.
If you've had a year in industry as part of your degree, make sure you clearly explain the skills you gained and the projects you worked on in interviews and applications.
For manufacturing, you can move into careers in areas such as marketing, research and management without an engineering degree. There are multiple graduate schemes and entry level jobs available in these areas.
Additionally, you can move into more production specific areas if you do have an engineering degree. If you want to solidify your skills, postgraduate study could be an option.