Engineering: setting yourself up with skills for a solid career

With engineering one of the most in-demand skills in the UK at present, why not equip yourself with the expertise necessary for a successful career in engineering?

Of the specialist sectors that are currently driving growth in the UK, engineering is one of the biggest. According to the Engineering for Growth partner campaign led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the engineering sector contributes at least 28% directly into the UK’s economy, and even more indirectly.

Whether you’re planning on working for the public or private sector, the huge infrastructure projects planned across the UK over the next few decades are entirely dependent on dedicated and experienced engineers to carry them out.

Whether you’re training for the first time or going back to school to retrain after rethinking your career options, engineering makes an excellent choice.

What skills are needed – and how to gain them

Note that unlike many other professions, you don’t necessarily need a university degree to get ahead in engineering. A wide variety of skills and a broad education will get you far, as engineering crosses many sectors and industries. Many engineering institutions focus more on apprenticeships as the best route to a long and rewarding career in the field of engineering.

More bright minds needed!

Sadly, the UK is lagging behind other European countries – Germany is often cited as an excellent example – in encouraging its most promising school-leavers to take up engineering apprenticeships over academic university educations. Training for a career in engineering means being involved in moulding the future British landscape.

While engineers may be in demand, this does not mean that this is not a competitive market. The most sought-after engineers are not only innovative and able to think outside the box, they will also have completed their apprenticeships, clocking up valuable work experience, and able to apply a wide variety of research methods to their applied field.

Specialist engineering and hi-tech designs

Many British engineering companies are world leaders in specialist engineering design in hi-tech sectors. Computer engineers, for example, often work on a very tiny scale, with nanoengineering at the very extreme of this spectrum.

Hi-tech engineering companies include Dorset-based Meggitt, a more than 150-year-old company that is known for its advances in the aerospace and defence sectors. Still going strong, decades after pioneering inventions including the spark plug and the pneumatic tyre, the company supplies increasingly advanced components to Britain’s defence forces. Adding further strength to this company is the recent news that Sir Nigel Rudd is to be non-executive chairman of Meggitt.

Going into engineering is more than just manual work and getting one’s hands dirty: as the world becomes a more increasingly hi-tech place, the engineering sector is moving with it. As new inventions and structures are unveiled globally, often of immense stature and magnitude, it is engineers that are behind them. Training or retraining as an engineer means learning skills that will be as popular in the future as they are today.