Engineering and Automotive School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Want to be a driving force in a top industry? If you're an automotive engineer, getting behind the wheel means so much more than just knowing how to get your car from one place to another – you'll be helping to design cars, making your mark on the next brands that everyone's going to want to buy.Automotive engineering

If you're into cars, you'll know that it's more than just a set of wheels, and working as an automotive engineer means you can focus on certain areas.

What’s it all about? TOP ^

Duties of an automotive engineer involve testing and improving engines so they perform better and in a more eco-friendly way. Build components that can operate on different fuels and power sources. Get into the wiring and electrics to improve sound systems, heating and more. Put plans forward to build a structure that will support all the bits and pieces that the car needs to make it work. Design sleek shapes that will be the next hottest thing on the market. As an automotive engineer you can even work with a team to create the winning race car!

Around 1.5 million cars and commercial vehicles and three million engines are produced in the UK every year, so this is literally a fast-paced industry (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders).

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers supports people who work in this industry by offering further training, and the opportunity to become chartered. Students and apprentices can join for free – have a look at the degree programmes that IMechE has accredited. You can also meet other people in the same line of work, and find out about the latest headlines that affect the industry at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The best way to progress in this career is to have good qualifications, but will lead you to good opportunities and chances to develop the skills you enjoy most. Companies will sometimes fund this training themselves, as they want to get the most out of their employees.

What will I earn? TOP ^

You can start off in a graduate programme earning £20,000-£30,000. Managers and senior staff can earn over £40,000, depending on their responsibilities.

Where can I work? TOP ^

You can study Automotive Engineering, or get into the industry through Mechanical or Electrical Engineering degrees. Some of these include studying robotics, which applies to the machines that assemble cars.

You can also enter this field through apprenticeships in the technical aspect of automotive engineering, and build your skills and experience through a series of vocational qualifications and certificates.

Automotive engineers normally specialise in a particular field of work, such as exhaust systems or engine design.

What skills do I need for engineering and automotive? TOP ^

Because so much goes into producing a car, it’s essential that you’re a good team player; everyone's efforts need to come together in the end to make the flashy machine that revs on the open road. Just as you'll want to be confident in your colleagues’ work, they'll need to be confident in yours. You'll also need an interest in mechanics, the enthusiasm to learn more about advancements in the industry and the motivation to meet deadlines.

Some of the skills you’ll need in automotive engineering include:

What entry level engineering and automotive jobs can I do? TOP ^

Automotive engineers will generally need to have a degree in an engineering related subject in order to work in the industry. Consequently, entry level jobs are generally at a higher level than other industries.

Some entry level automotive engineering jobs include:

  • Automotive engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Car developer
  • Control and instrumentation engineer
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