Engineering - Mechanical and Production Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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Mechanical engineers design and develop technology, products and materials that improve processes and solve problems. They are often also involved in testing and installation. As many industries rely on mechanical systems, this area of engineering is one of the most diverse and offers opportunities to work in most industries, including energy, construction and manufacturing.

Mechanical engineers can work on everything from devising methods for reducing emissions from energy plants, such as carbon capture and storage, to designing robotic automation systems or new medical devices that could save lives.

Mechanical engineers are usually office based but are often required to visit building sites, workshops or factory floors depending on the type of work. Working extra hours is fairly common in this industry, although shift and weekend work is rare.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

A relevant degree in a mechanical engineering course is vital if you want to enter the industry - and relevant work experience is important too. However, some employers will take on new staff who are only educated to diploma level - if they can continue their education through professional courses.

The degrees that will allow you to get a graduate mechanical engineering job include:
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Manufacturing engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Applied sciences
  • Nuclear engineer
A mechanical engineering course will delve deeper into how engineers use the principles of physics and material science to analyse, design and produce new mechanical systems.

You can expect a mechanical engineering programme to cover modules in mechanical systems design, fluid dynamics and energy efficiency. Many mechanical engineers go on to complete a postgraduate course. These are highly vocational and will include modules on project management and leadership.

What skills do I need?TOP ^

Mechanical engineers have to combine mathematical, scientific, technology and employability skills during their day to day job. As a mechanical engineer you will be creative, a good problem solver, highly computer literate and have good attention to detail.

Some skills that would be useful for a graduate mechanical engineering role include:
Mechanical engineers will develop their skills throughout their careers, constantly updating and improving their abilities as industry norms change and new techniques and programmes become available. You should consider taking membership of the appropriate professional body, as this will allow you to gain extra skills and qualifications, particularly if you gain chartered status.

What graduate mechanical engineering jobs can I do? TOP ^

Mechanical engineering is one of the most diverse engineering options you can take, with plenty of different job roles open to you. Graduates go into roles in design, development, operation and maintenance in any piece of machinery that has moving parts. This means you could work in many different sectors.

Traditionally, graduates work in transport, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. It is important to continue developing your skills throughout your professional career, so you should look to try and gain chartered engineer status in whichever country you plan on working in.

Going into academia and taking a PhD or further study is also a popular route for postgraduates.

Some jobs include:
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Production manager
  • Quality manager
  • Analytical chemist
Average mechanical engineering salaries

Mechanical engineers are in demand across the UK and command high salaries as they grow with experience. Qualified or chartered engineers often go freelance or work on a contract by contract basis.
  • Mechanical engineer: £20,000 - £60,000
  • Aeronautical engineer: £20,000 - £65,000
  • Drilling agent: £30,000 - £100,000
  • Building services engineer: £20,000 - £85,000
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