A job in engineering can take many forms and can take you down a wide range of paths. Skills are in short supply too, so now is a great time to get into engineering. With a long history of manufacturing and innovation, top universities and a whole host of international companies based in places like Stockport and Trafford Park as well the city centre, Greater Manchester is one of the best places to start your career in engineering.
However, engineering is a technical discipline and you’ll need some training to get started, but the qualifications you need to pursue will vary depending on the sort of role you’re interested in, and the industries that interest you most.
If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty (and they’ll get very dirty!), pursue a blue-collar engineering job. For traditional, hands-on roles, the most requested experience we get from our engineering clients is to have completed an engineering apprenticeship. Precision engineered components often have a high value, so any mistakes can be very costly to a business. Completing an apprenticeship demonstrates to clients that you’ve got the hands-on experience to understand the precision required in many roles, and also that you have some understanding of working with different materials to complete a job.
Getting hands-on experience in the workplace can also open doors beyond manufacturing. You could find yourself working as a Quality Inspection Engineer, Maintenance Engineer or Field Service Engineer, or going into a supervisory role as a Production Manager or Engineering Manager.
For white-collar, less practical engineering jobs, the academic understanding of engineering is more valuable to employers than hands-on skills. For this reason, your best bet is to head to university for a BEng or BSc qualification in an engineering discipline. You’ll need good A levels in Maths and Science to get a place on a course, and the willingness to work hard once you’re there. The precise subject you choose depends on your interests, but will open different doors in terms of industry – mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical engineering are just three options that we come across most often.
The job titles you might find yourself having won’t vary on the industry – only the solutions you’ll be engineering. Design Engineers work at the front of innovation, creating new products or bespoke solutions to customers. Sales Engineers work closely with clients, using their expert knowledge to advise clients on how a company’s technical products can solve their problems. Project Management roles are also common in engineering, coordinating the different departments on an engineering business and overseeing the delivery of client orders on budget, on time, and in a way that clients are happy with.
Whatever career path you choose, and however you choose to get there, the main thing employers look for in engineering candidates are their skills. And it’s these skills that will open up the possibilities of what you can earn and even allow you to travel the world because of your knowledge and ability. Hard work will certainly pay off.
To find out more about different career paths open to you in engineering disciplines, take a look at our live jobs.