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Engineering - Mechanical and Production School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Interested in how things work? Want to get into the nuts and bolts of an industry's operation system? Or, do you want to be a part of innovative projects like the London Eye? Then mechanical engineering could be for you.Mechanical and production engineering

Mechanical engineers are involved with the machinery a company or industry needs – researching what's needed, designing the bits and pieces and overseeing the finished result. This applies not just to production lines, but also machines used in power plants, engines for planes and trains, agricultural and mining equipment, and even computer systems. If it moves, it needs a mechanical engineer. So, it's a job that can pretty much take you to any industry you like!

What’s it all about?TOP ^

In order to have your pick of industries, you need to have skills that can be adapted to a number of different situations. It's all worth it though – because mechanical engineering skills are so adaptable, you'll have the chance to earn more than most of the other engineering sectors.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is a professional organisation that supports people who work in the industry, offering training and networking opportunities that help with career development. Students and apprentices can join for free.

You will probably work standard office hours, but a lot of this job is about meeting deadlines, so you may need to stay late to finish something on time. You'll probably split your time between the office and the factory or site that you're doing the work for. It's also important that you stay on top of the latest advancements in your field, so you'll need to attend classes and conferences to keep your skills current.

What will I earn? TOP ^

Graduates will usually earn over £20,000. This can double as you gain experience – senior mechanical engineers can earn well over £45,000. This varies depending on the type of job and company.

Where can I work? TOP ^

You'll need a university degree in mechanical engineering, though there are programmes available that specialise in certain industries like automotive, aerospace and bioengineering. You can also get a degree in production engineering, which is a bit more hands-on, but still uses designing and management skills.

There are qualifications available in certain aspects of mechanical engineering, which could get you a job as a technician.
Mechanical engineers work in any industry which produces produce using machinery on a large scale. You will work on improving efficiency, designing new production techniques and modifying existing equipment to make it safer.

What skills do I need in mechanical and production engineering?TOP ^

Jobs in mechanical engineering involve constant change to find new and better ways to build on what's done before. So, it's important that you have good research and analytical skills, along with an open mind to find innovative solutions. You'll need to be able to manage a project from start to finish, and be a positive team player in order to get the project done well.

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:

What entry level jobs can I do in mechanical and production engineering? TOP ^

It may be possible to get into a technical mechanical engineering position with a lower level qualification than a degree, such as an accredited HND. However, it is normal practice for employers to ask for a degree in an engineering subject.

Some entry level mechanical engineering jobs include:

  • Mechanical engineer
  • Building services engineer
  • Automotive engineer
  • Manufacturing systems engineer
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