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Engineering - General and Other School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Are you good at solving problems? When it comes to broken chair legs, cars that won't start, squeaky hinges or packing up the car on holiday, is it normally you who thinks up a quick and simple way to deal with the situation? That's the kind of mindset that an engineer needs, and it could be your ticket to an innovative and fulfilling career – even as a school leaver.Engineering

A lot of people who want to go into engineering might not know exactly which part of engineering they want to specialise in. So, they go into higher education and do a general engineering degree that covers aspects of maths, mechanics, physics, computing, laboratory skills and project management. This can be the basis for a more focused master's degree, or as the launch of a career in something that draws on this knowledge, like teaching or planning.

However, if as a school leaver you want to go straight into the engineering profession, then your best bet will be to look for an apprenticeship scheme. This will allow you to get professional experience, learn on the job, get paid and gain a salary.

While starting out in a general engineering career will give you the most options for where you want to go next, you will need to specialise in either a particular area of engineering or in another field, like selling products or becoming a teacher. You may need to get another qualification to go into your chosen profession, or enter a graduate programme where you'll receive the training you need.

What will I earn? TOP ^

Qualified graduates are paid around £24,000 in their first job, which can increase to over £40,000 as they move into management. Becoming a chartered engineer usually results in an increase in pay as well as job opportunities. Apprentice engineers will earn up £200 a week as part of the apprenticeship scheme.

Qualified engineering technicians earn over £20,000, and teachers earn around £25,000-£30,000.

Where can I work?TOP ^

Engineering is a wide ranging sector which can be broken down into many different parts and industries. You could work in the following types of engineering:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Civil engineering
  • Automotive engineering
  • Chemical engineering
  • Nuclear engineering
  • Electrical engineering

Almost all these industries will require you to have a degree to break into them. However, you may be able to gain employment through an apprenticeship or school leaver programme.

What skills will I need in engineering? TOP ^

You'll need to be good at problem-solving, with a flexible approach that's adaptable to a number of situations. You'll also need to have excellent inter-personal skills, as being a good manager is key to moving into higher job roles.

The most essential skills for working in engineering are having an analytical mind, being quick thinking and being exceptionally good at mathematics and logical problem solving. Aside from this, though, there are interpersonal skills that are also essential if you are to excel in a business that involves a large amount of teamwork and communication.

Skills possessed by those working in engineering include:

What entry level engineering jobs can I do? TOP ^

Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to get a job in the engineering sector without a degree. However, a degree or professional qualifications will prove vital if you want to progress. One of the best ways to break into the industry as a school leaver is with an apprenticeship.

Some entry level jobs in the engineering industry include:

  • Engineering apprentice
  • Construction worker
  • Trainee engineer
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